Obama congratulates Karzai, asks him to improve governance

Obama congratulates Karzai, asks him to improve governance

Afghan President Hamid Karzai with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in Kabul on Monday. AP

Congratulating Karzai over telephone on his re-election, Obama told the Afghan leader that his administration needs to be more serious in its efforts to eradicate corruption.

Later, Obama said that Karzai assured him that he understood the importance of the time of his re-election.

"But as I indicated to him, the proof is not going to be in words, it is going to be in deeds," Obama said.

Informing reporters about his call with Karzai, Obama said at his Oval Office, "I spoke with President Karzai and I congratulated him on his election for the second term as President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan."

Although the process was messy, the US President said he was pleased with the final outcome as it was in accordance with Afghan law.

This, according to him, was important not only for the international community that has invested so much in Afghan success, but most importantly, is important for the Afghans that the results were in accordance with and followed the rules laid down by the country's constitution.

"I did emphasise to President Karzai that the American people and the international community as a whole want to continue to partner with him and his government in achieving prosperity and security in Afghanistan," Obama said.

"But I emphasised that this has to be a point in time in which we begin to write a new chapter based on improved governance, a much more serious effort to eradicate corruption, joint efforts to accelerate the training of Afghan security forces so that the Afghan people can provide for their own security," he said.

"That kind of coordination and a sense on the part of President Karzai that after some difficult years in which there has been some drift, that in fact he's going to move boldly and forcefully forward and take advantage of the international community's interest in his country to initiate reforms internally, that has to be one of our highest priorities," Obama said.

"He assured me that he understood the importance of this moment, but as I indicated to him, the proof is not going to be in words, it's going to be in deeds. And we are looking forward to consulting closely with his government in the weeks and months to come to assure that the Afghan people are actually seeing progress on the ground," the US President said.

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