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Obama: Afghan Runoff Will Ensure Credible Process

President Obama this morning praised the announcement by Afghan President Hamid Karzai that he will accept the certification of the nation's election commission requiring a runoff vote, calling it "an important step forward in ensuring a credible process for the Afghan people which results in a government that reflects their will."

"While this election could have remained unresolved to the detriment of the country, President Karzai's constructive actions established an important precedent for Afghanistan's new democracy," Obama said. "The Afghan Constitution and laws are strengthened by President Karzai's decision, which is in the best interests of the Afghan people."

The announcement comes as the White House was preparing to announce a new military strategy, following weeks of meetings the president held with his so-called war council. Any announcement now will likely be delayed until the runoff takes place.

The rest of Obama's statement is after the jump.

I congratulate the Afghan people on the patience and resilience they have shown throughout this long election process. Given Afghanistan's recent history, it is extraordinary that they were able to overcome threats and violence to express their democratic right to choose their leader. Insecurity in the country prevented some Afghans from voting, but it is a testimony to the bravery of the Afghan people that so many of them did come out to vote in the first round under tremendously difficult circumstances.

I commend both the Independent Electoral Commission and the Electoral Complaints Commission for carrying out their mandates. Throughout this process, the United States has been interested above all in the strength and independence of those institutions, and the need for them to fulfill their mandate on behalf of all Afghans.

I congratulate President Karzai and Dr. Abdullah, who both earned the support of voters from across the country. I also commend all of the other Presidential candidates who made this such a vibrant campaign.

It is now vital that all elements of Afghan society continue to come together to advance democracy, peace and justice. We look forward to a second round of voting, and the completion of the process to choose the President of Afghanistan. In that effort, the United States and the international community are committed to partnering with the Afghan people.