KABUL (SW) – The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan has announced the postponement of Thursday’s planned presidential inauguration ceremony.
According to a series of tweets by Zalmay Khalilzad, U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation, Washington has welcomed President Ghani’s decision to postpone the event until March 9. “This will allow time for necessary consultations so that the best interests of Afghanistan and its people are reflected and preserved by the new government”, he said.
Khalilzad added: “As the electoral process has concluded, President Ghani, as the declared winner, and other leaders should ensure that the new government is inclusive and reflects the aspirations of all Afghans”.
Earlier, The State Department stated it has noted the announcement on February 18, 2020 by the Independent Election Commission of Afghanistan on the results of the presidential election held September 28, 2019 in favor of President Ashraf Ghani. ‘Concerns have been raised about the election process. We expect these concerns to be handled in accordance with constitutional and legal procedures’, it said.
The State Department called on the new government to be inclusive and reflect the aspirations of all Afghans. “The country’s leaders and their supporters should ensure that political debate is carried out in a calm manner, free from the use or threat of violence. They should also desist from destabilizing actions, including purported efforts to establish parallel government structures inconsistent with the constitution and rule of law. Such moves call into question the country’s sovereignty and unity that the United States strongly supports”, it said.
According to the statement, the Afghan people want peace. “It is time to focus not on electoral politics, but on taking steps toward a lasting peace, ending the war with the Taliban, and finding a formula for a political settlement that can serve the interests of all of this country’s citizens through intra-Afghan negotiations we expect will begin in March. We urge all parties to participate in and support the immediate establishment of an agreed national framework for peace that is fully representative of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to prepare for and lead these negotiations. To ensure adequate time for Afghans to agree on these matters, we thank the Afghan government for agreeing to postpone the presidential inauguration”.
Meanwhile, Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah has said his electoral team stands firm by its demands, however, the peace process would be given priority. In a statement, he said election related activities are halted for the next 15 days.