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Cablegate: Canadian Pm Welcomes Afghan Run-Off Election

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DE RUEHOT #0801 2932045
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 202045Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY OTTAWA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9959
INFO RUCNCAN/ALL CANADIAN POSTS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHBUL/AMEMBASSY KABUL PRIORITY 0291
RUCNAFG/AFGHANISTAN COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

UNCLAS OTTAWA 000801

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV AF CA
SUBJECT: CANADIAN PM WELCOMES AFGHAN RUN-OFF ELECTION

1. (U) Summary: Prime Minister Harper on October 20 expressed
pleasure that both leading Afghan presidential candidates had
recognized the need for a run-off election, encouraged the people of
Afghanistan to participate in the second round of elections, and
reiterated Canada's continued support. He had earlier telephoned
President Karzai, urging him "to maintain an unqualified commitment
to the constitutional democratic process in Afghanistan." End
summary.

2. (U) On October 20, Prime Minister Stephen Harper issued a formal
statement on the release of the official certified results by the
Afghan Independent Election Commission. The statement expressed
pleasure that the two remaining presidential candidates acknowledged
the need for a run-off election "in the best interests of Afghan
democracy," underscoring that "Canada has consistently stated that
all parties must respect the Afghan electoral process and the Afghan
constitution." Affirming that "our goal in Afghanistan is to help
Afghans rebuild their country as a stable, democratic and
self-sufficient society," PM Harper underscored that "it is
particularly important that these elections are an Afghan-led
process." PM Harper encouraged the people of Afghanistan to
participate in the second round of elections, and confirmed Canada's
continued support of the process. (Full text in para 5.)

3. (U) PM Harper had telephoned President Karzai on the afternoon of
October 19, according to the Prime Minister's Press Secretary,
Dimitri Soudas. PM Harper urged President Karzai "to maintain an
unqualified commitment to the constitutional democratic process in
Afghanistan" and "noted that Canada and the international community
have strongly supported the rebuilding of Afghanistan under
President Karzai, the first democratically national leader in the
country's history." President Karzai reportedly asked PM Harper "to
convey to Canadians his [Karzai's] continuing gratitude for the
sacrifices made by Canada for the future of his country."

4. (U) Canadian media also cited remarks by an unidentified "senior
official" that PM Harper had firmly advised Karzai that, if he tried
to govern without a legal mandate, Karzai would face dire problems,
not just with Canada, but with the entire international community.


5. (U) The text of the October 20 statement follows:

"The Government of Canada acknowledges the final results released
today by the Independent Election Commission for the 2009 Afghan
Presidential Elections.

We are pleased that both candidates recognized the need for a
run-off election in the best interests of Afghan democracy. Canada
has consistently stated that all parties must respect the Afghan
electoral process and the Afghan constitution.

While the first round of elections was not without controversy, it
is important to remember how far Afghanistan has come since the fall
of the Taliban regime. Our goal in Afghanistan is to help Afghans
rebuild their country as a stable, democratic and self-sufficient
society.

Canada continues to lend our support as Afghans proceed into the
second round of elections. This is an important step in the
country's ongoing transition to democracy. It is particularly
important that these elections are an Afghan-led process.

We encourage the people of Afghanistan to actively participate and
vote in this second round of elections. We continue to encourage
the Afghan government and the IEC to set the necessary conditions
for a secure, transparent and inclusive second round of elections."
Qfor a secure, transparent and inclusive second round of elections."
End text
JACOBSON

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