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August 08, 2014 AT 4:41 AM
Afghanistan's rival presidential candidates have signed a deal to cooperate on the formation of a government of national unity, both candidates told a news conference following meetings with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Friday. A joint declaration that both of the candidates signed, a copy of which was obtained by Reuters, did not provide details on the government's framework, except to say that both sides would form commissions to work on its structure. The power sharing deal, agreed verbally during Kerry's last visit to Afghanistan a month ago, was intended to pull the country back from war along ethnic lines after both candidates claimed victory in an election marred by widespread fraud. The two candidates, former finance minister Ashraf Ghani and former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah stood by Kerry as he spoke. The joint-declaration stated the candidates would agree to a timeline for the electoral process and inauguration date for the next president by the end of August. Afghanistan's Western backers hope an audit of votes will produce a legitimate president before a NATO summit in early September.