Obama phones Afghanistan presidential candidates for power-sharing deal

WASHINGTON (INP): President Obama called the two rival presidential candidates in Afghanistan over the weekend, urging both men to swiftly reach a power-sharing deal to bring stability to the country. A White House statement Sunday said Obama told Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani that a national unity government would encourage international support for Afghanistan.

The two candidates, who are disputing the results of the April election, have been unable to reach an agreement on a proposed plan to form a unified government in which one would be president and the other would be chief executive.

The president reaffirmed the United States commitment to support Afghanistan, its people, and the president and chief executive, should the agreement be formalized, in their efforts to form a new unity government, the White House said.

The calls were placed Saturday after Obama returned to Washington from the NATO summit in Wales, where leaders had originally thought they would be welcoming the new Afghanistan president.

There is international concern that if an agreement is not reached, Abdullah and Ghani could create two separate governments that would divide the country and ignite further tension in the region.

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