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NATO welcomes Afghanistan run-off presidential vote

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen on Tuesday welcomed Afghanistan's decision to stage a run-off presidential election on November 7, calling it a sign of respect for democracy.

world Updated: Oct 20, 2009 20:52 IST

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen on Tuesday welcomed Afghanistan's decision to stage a run-off presidential election on November 7, calling it a sign of respect for democracy.

"The decision to hold a second round of elections shows respect for the democratic process and institutions in Afghanistan, and I welcome that," he said in a statement.

But he called for measures to be taken to ensure that the new round of polling must be seen as free from the taint of fraud that accompanied the first round.

"The necessary steps must be taken to ensure that the conduct of the next round of voting achieves a higher standard than we saw in the first round, so that the government that results from this process has legitimacy in the eyes of the Afghan people," he said.

He also urged Afghans to vote, saying NATO had the forces in place to protect them from "threats or intimidation by the enemies of the country."