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U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry shakes hands with Afghanistan's presidential candidate Ashraf Ghani (L) at the start of a meeting at the U.S. embassy in Kabul July 11, 2014. REUTERS/Jim Bourg(reuters_tickers)
KABUL (Reuters) - The two rival candidates in Afghanistan's presidential election have agreed to abide by the results of a U.N.-supervised recount of the entire poll to settle their dispute over the outcome, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said after talks with both men.
The recount is to begin within 24 hours, and a presidential inauguration scheduled for Aug. 2 will be postponed, Kerry told a joint news conference with the two candidates, Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani.
"Both candidates have committed to participate in and abide by the results of the largest and most comprehensive audit; every single ballot that was cast will be audited," Kerry said. "This is the strongest possible signal by both candidates of the desire to restore legitimacy to the process."
(Reporting by Lesley Wroughton, Writing by Kevin Liffey in London)