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Published: Wednesday July 9, 2014 MYT 7:55:07 AM
Updated: Wednesday July 9, 2014 MYT 7:55:07 AM

Obama tells Afghan candidates fraud charges merit review

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama spoke with Afghan presidential contender Abdullah Abdullah on Monday night and rival Ashraf Ghani on Tuesday to urge calm and to call for a review of fraud charges in that country's election, the White House said.

"With both, the president stressed that the United States expects a thorough review of all reasonable allegations of fraud to ensure a credible electoral process," the White House said in a statement on Tuesday.

"He reiterated that all parties should avoid steps that undermine Afghan national unity and should come together to work toward a resolution that represents the will of the Afghan people and produces a government that can bring Afghanistan together," it said.

The White House said Obama made clear there was "no justification" for resorting to violence and said such a move would lead to the end of U.S. support for the country.

"Any such move would cost Afghanistan the financial and security assistance of the United States," White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters earlier on Tuesday.

Serious allegations of fraud have been raised but they have yet to be adequately investigated, Earnest said.

Abdullah's camp rejected preliminary results of last month's run-off election on Monday as a "coup" against the Afghan people. The Independent Election Commission on Monday announced that Ghani won the June 14 second round with 56.44 percent of the vote, according to preliminary results. The tally might change when the final official numbers come out on July 22.

(Reporting by Mark Felsenthal and Jeff Mason; Editing by Ken Wills)

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