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Kenya Power-sharing Talks Hit a Standstill

BY Admin  February 26, 2008 at 12:15 PM EDT

Former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan

“After four hours of intense negotiations this morning, the negotiating team made almost no progress toward reaching an agreement on governance, despite the fact that they were given the entire weekend to consult on their positions,” Annan said in a statement Monday night, the New York Times reported. “I had to conclude that they were not capable of resolving the outstanding issues.”

He said he would speak to President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga individually to see if there was a way to move forward “much faster,” according to the BBC.

Annan has led negotiations aimed at finding a resolution to the political crisis and ensuing violence that erupted after Dec. 27 elections. Although Odinga was leading in the polls, Kibaki was declared the winner of a second five-year term. Local and international election monitors have said the vote was rigged.

Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete, the head of the African Union, was scheduled to arrive in the Kenyan capital Nairobi on Tuesday to “lend his support to the Annan-led mediation,” said Eliphas Barines, a spokesman for Kenya’s Foreign Ministry, reported the Associated Press.

Negotiators for Kibaki and Odinga have agreed in principle to create a new prime minister post for the opposition, but questions remain about how much power that person would have.

Odinga’s Orange Democratic Movement has threatened mass protests if a deal is not reached by Wednesday. Past protests have sparked violence as police try to control the crowds.

Much of the postelection violence is ethnically based between supporters of Kibaki, a Kikuyu, and western groups who rally behind the opposition and Odinga, a Luo. At least 1,000 people reportedly have been killed in the crisis, ruining Kenya’s image as a stable democracy.

Over the weekend, police said eight houses were burned in a western village in an ethnically motivated attack, the AP reported.