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Karzai Says New Afghan President To Be Sworn-In On September 2

Outgoing Afghan President Hamid Karzai (center) speaks during celebrations to commemorate Afghanistan's 95th anniversary of independence as he is flanked by presidential candidates Abdullah Abdullah (right) and Ashraf Ghani in Kabul on August 19.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai said his successor would take office on September 2.

Karzai's office said in a statement on August 23 that the government is "totally ready for the inauguration ceremony of the new president" on September 2, and that the date would not change.

The statement comes even though the long-running vote audit process following the disputed June 14 election has not yet been completed.

The two presidential rivals, Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, signed a deal recently to form a national unity government.

The election commission says more than 60 percent of the votes have now been audited.

Karzai's statement was issued following talks between the president and Jan Kubis, the head of the United Nations mission in Kabul.

Based on reporting by dpa, AFP, and