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Annan suspends Kenyan crisis talks

Latest update : 2008-02-27

Kofi Annan has suspended talks with negotiators from the Kenyan government and opposition due to lack of progress on a power sharing deal. Negotiations had stalled over the creation and powers of a prime minister, a new post in Kenyan politics.

Kofi Annan suspended Tuesday talks with representatives of the Kenya government and the opposition, citing a lack of progress in seeking an end to the country's political crisis.
  
"Given the way the talks are going and the way mediators are relating to each other I believe it is important that I suspend the negotiations," Annan told reporters.
  
Annan added he would "take the matter up with President (Mwai) Kibaki and (opposition leader) honourable Raila Odinga."
  
"The leaders have to assume their responsibilities and become directly engaged in these talks," Annan explained.
  
Negotiations on a power-sharing deal have stalled on the creation and powers of a would-be prime minister, a position that currently does not exist but is a key element in a proposed political settlement.
  
Annan on Monday met with Kibaki and Odinga after negotiators failed to agree on the details of the post of prime minister for the east African nation, where at least 1,500 people were killed in bloodshed after a December presidential poll.
  
Government and opposition negotiators traded blames for the stalemate in the talks seen as Kenya's best chance to resolve one of its worst political crises since independence from Britain in 1963.
  
"We felt that we were being pushed and pushed, which is not fair in negotiations," said government negotiatior Mutula Kilonzo. "We felt that we were being rail-roaded."
  
But opposition Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) deputy leader Musalia Mudavadi blamed the government for failing to cede ground.
  
"We want to state very clearly that we as ODM have been very dedicated to the talks. ODM is not responsible for the stalling of the talks. We have been extremely frustrated." he told reporters.
  
"What ground do see has been ceded by the other side?"
  
More than 1,500 people died in the weeks of violence that followed Kibaki's being sworn in for a second term in office on December 30, moments after the election result was announced.
  
The ODM claims the presidential vote count was rigged in Kibaki's favour and insists on a powerful prime minister's post, while the government has offered a non-executive office. 
  
Hundreds of thousands of people have also been displaced, mainly in the capital's slums and western region regarded as the country's breadbasket.
  
On Sunday, the government said both sides had agreed on the establishment of the post of a prime minister and two deputies, and that the premier would co-ordinate the performance of government ministries as well as perform duties assigned by the president.
  
The post-poll crisis, which has affected the economy, has tapped into simmering resentment over land, poverty and the dominance of the Kikuyu, Kibaki's tribe, in Kenyan politics and business since independence.

Date created : 2008-02-26

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