Wednesday, February 27, 2008


Kenya's opposition leader Raila Odinga has called off Thursday's mass protests after meeting ex-UN head Kofi Annan.
Mr Annan is also meeting President Mwai Kibaki in a bid to salvage suspended talks on Tuesday after he said the negotiations had become acrimonious.
Mr Odinga's Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) had threatened to hold rallies if a deal to end the post-election crisis was not reached by then.
More than 1,000 people have died in political violence since the election.
"We... are committed to the talks. We have postponed until further notice any actions planned for tomorrow," Mr Odinga told reporters in the capital, Nairobi, after meeting Mr Annan, Reuters news agency reports.
Talks between the government and opposition on securing a power-sharing deal have stalled.
Mr Kibaki claimed victory in the 27 December poll, but Mr Odinga said it was rigged.
'Imposed deal'
Mr Annan, who has been in Kenya for more than a month trying to reach a settlement, is also expected to meet the African Union head, Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete, who is also in the country to help save negotiations.

Q&A: Kenya poll violence
How talks halted

"The leaders have to assume their responsibilities and become directly engaged in these talks," Mr Annan said.
Both sides had agreed last week to create the post of prime minister, which would be taken by Mr Odinga, leading to hopes that a final deal was imminent.
However, they still needed to finalise which powers he would have.
The government now says the president should appoint the prime minister, which would not be an executive post.
As well as how to divide powers between a prime minister and a president, the rivals are also split on sharing cabinet positions and the possibility of a new election if the coalition collapses.
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Moses Wetangula has criticised comments by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who said that bilateral relations between the US and Kenya could suffer unless progress was made in negotiations.
He said Kenya's international friends were welcome to support the dialogue process but not to impose solutions to the conflict.



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