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Afghan candidates agree to end election dispute

Associated Press
This July 12, 2014 file photo shows. from left, Secretary of State John Kerry, Afghanistan's presidential candidate Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, and Afghan presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah during a joint news conference in Kabul, Afghanistan. The Obama administration on Thursday stepped up efforts to press Afghanistan’s two feuding presidential candidates to end their dispute over June elections, accept the results of an ongoing audit of all ballots and form a national unity government by early September. On an unannounced visit to Kabul, Kerry made personal appeals to both candidates _ former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah and former Finance Minister Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai _ to understand the urgency of finding a resolution before the upcoming NATO summit in Wales on September 4, according to officials traveling with Kerry. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul, File)
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KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Afghanistan's feuding presidential candidates have agreed to resolve their election dispute and say they will set the inauguration before the end of August.

The breakthrough comes as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry opened a second day of talks in Afghanistan on Friday aimed at preventing the fragile country from collapsing into political chaos after disputed elections.

Kerry paid a courtesy call on Afghan President Hamid Karzai and met later with the two men, former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah and former Finance Minister Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai. They've been locked in a bitter dispute over who will succeed Karzai.

Abdullah calls the agreement a -- quote -- "step forward in the interests of strengthening national unity ... and bringing hope to the people for the future of Afghanistan."

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