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Karzai Rival Sets Conditions Ahead Of Afghan Runoff


Abdullah Abdullah speaks to reporters at his residence in Kabul on October 21.
KABUL (Reuters) -- President Hamid Karzai's main rival in Afghanistan's disputed presidential election said he was preparing a set of conditions ahead of the November 7 runoff to prevent a repeat of widespread fraud.

After days of diplomatic wrangling, Karzai agreed on October 20 to face his former foreign minister, Abdullah Abdullah, in a runoff after a UN-led fraud inquiry tossed out enough of his votes to trigger a second round.

In his first remarks since the announcement, Abdullah welcomed the decision and said his team was mapping out specific conditions and recommendations to avoid any risk of fraud.

"We have certain suggestions, recommendations, and conditions in order to avoid widespread massive fraud in the upcoming elections based on the experiences of the last round of elections," he said.

"Last night, I contacted Mr. Karzai and I thanked him for his words and for his acceptance of the outcome of the elections," he told reporters at his home in the Afghan capital.

In his remarks, he dismissed any rumors he would seek an alternative to holding a runoff and denied speculation of any power-sharing talks with his rival.

"I am not under any pressure from any side. I am not under any pressure from the international community with regard to any scenario," he said.

"As far as the second concerned, my whole desire is that the second round will take place on time, under good circumstances."