Chairman Menendez Statement on the Inauguration of President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah in Afghanistan

Chairman Menendez Statement on the Inauguration of President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah in Afghanistan

Newark, NJ - U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued the following statement on the inauguration in Afghanistan of President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah:

"I congratulate President of Afghanistan Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai and Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah on this historic occasion as they were sworn into office today. Dr. Ghani and Dr. Abdullah should be commended on the formation of the government of national unity, and will have the support of the U.S. government as they work to build a broad-based, inclusive government in order to confront the challenges faced by Afghanistan. "This historic election marked the first peaceful transition of power in Afghanistan's national history. The Afghan people courageously went to the polls to vote in April and June in defiance of Taliban threats. This political transition is a critical step in Afghanistan's future, and new leadership will help transition Afghanistan to a democratically stable and prosperous country. "Much work remains - I urge President Ghani to swiftly sign the Bilateral Security Agreement with the U.S. so that our service members are afforded legal protection in Afghanistan. Following this contentious election process, both leaders also have a responsibility to bolster democratic institutions in the country and build trust with the Afghan people. To that end, I urge President Ghani to work closely with Dr Abdullah on the full implementation of all elements of the political unity deal brokered by Secretary Kerry in August. As part of its oversight responsibilities, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will watch the implementation of this agreement very closely.

"U.S. service members, diplomats and aid workers have sacrificed so much to create the conditions for this democratic transition. We honor their service and they have our deepest gratitude."

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