Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-MA) released the following statement today in response to Dr. Abdullah Abdullah's decision to withdraw from the runoff presidential election and the Afghan Election Committee's decision to cancel the runoff and declare President Hamid Karzai the winner of the 2009 presidential contest:
"This is one of many critical moments for Afghanistan. President Hamid Karzai deserves credit for his willingness to engage in the runoff election, and Dr. Abdullah Abdullah deserves credit for showing restraint throughout this difficult period. I applaud Dr. Abdullah for urging his supporters to avoid violence, and for refraining from actions which could tear the country apart rather than help bring it together. With the election concluded, it is an opportunity for the government of President Karzai to demonstrate genuine progress in combating corruption, establishing rule of law, and bringing measurable improvement to peoples' lives."
"It is my hope that all Afghans--those who supported President Hamid Karzai, those who supported Dr Abdullah, and those who supported other candidates during the election -- will now join together to build a better future for their nation. This is a moment when fundamental change is not only possible, but absolutely essential."