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Karzai 1st Democratically Elected Afghan President

Annan Congratulates Karzai As First Democratically Elected Afghan President

Secretary-General Kofi Annan today congratulated Afghan President Hamid Karzai on his inauguration as the country's first democratically elected leader and pledged full support to the completion of the Bonn agenda, which three years ago this month set Afghanistan on the transition to full democracy.

"This election and the recently adopted Constitution the President swore to uphold today are two key milestones in the building of a strong democratic state in that country," Mr. Annan said in a statement issued by his spokesman.

"The Secretary-General wishes President Karzai and the people of Afghanistan success as they take on the multiple tasks of stabilization and reconstruction, including the preparation of the upcoming parliamentary elections," the statement added. "He is gratified by the contribution that the United Nations has been able to make to the process of transition so far."

The world body helped organize the elections and other reconstruction efforts after sponsoring talks in December 2001, in Bonn, Germany, which set up provisional arrangements pending establishment of a permanent government following the ouster of the Taliban regime by United States-led forces the previous month.

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