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Last Updated: Thursday, 10 January 2008, 15:38 GMT
Kenya crisis talks end in failure
John Kufuor and Mwai Kibaki
President Kufuor, left, said both sides wanted dialogue
Talks conducted by Ghanaian President John Kufuor to end Kenya's political crisis have broken down, opposition and government sources have said.

Mr Kufuor had been hoping to broker a deal between President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga after last month's disputed elections.

Instead, Mr Kufuor said both sides had agreed to work under a panel which may be headed by ex-UN chief Kofi Annan.

About 600 people have died in unrest which followed the poll.

In addition to those killed, some 250,000 are feared displaced by the violence following the 27 December election in Kenya - previously seen as a relative beacon of stability in East Africa.

'Not responsive'

The opposition Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) said that the talks failed after President Kibaki refused to sign a document agreed by both sides and approved by World Bank Country Director Colin Bruce.

Both sides agreed there should be an end to the violence and they also agreed there should be dialogue
John Kufuor

The key points of the document are that they want:

  • a credible, independent and impartial investigation into the issues arising from the elections

  • to determine whether a re-run of the elections is necessary
  • if so, to provide a time-frame for recommendations on the structure of government up until the re-run

But the president's office was quick to disown the document.

"The government had offered dialogue which was to be facilitated by President John Kufuor but Orange Democratic Movement leaders have not been responsive," a statement said.

Mr Kibaki had invited his rival to hold face-to-face talks on Friday but Mr Odinga refused, unless the talks were led by international mediators.

But the Ghanaian president seemed more upbeat, although it is not clear when the new panel would start work.

"The parties agreed to work together with a panel of eminent African personalities headed by Mr Kofi Annan... towards resolving their differences and all other outstanding issues including constitutional and electoral reforms," he said.

Displaced Kenyans' fears about returning home

"Both sides agreed there should be an end to the violence and they also agreed there should be dialogue."

But some analysts say the failure of the initiative puts the negotiations back at square one, and it remains to be seen whether an agreement can still be reached.

The top US official for Africa, Jendayi Frazer, and four former African presidents have also been in Nairobi, trying to seek a solution to the crisis.

Mr Kibaki maintains he won the election fairly, but Mr Odinga says it was stolen.

Swearing-in

Earlier, police fired tear gas to disperse a group of about 100 women who were protesting about the election.

Some of them lay down and stripped to their bras, shouting "Shame on you" at the riot police, reports the Reuters news agency.

The protests came as Mr Kibaki swore in members of a new cabinet, though some minor posts have been left vacant, leading to speculation that these could be offered to the opposition.

Mr Odinga has so far refused to recognise the cabinet or participate in a government of national unity, saying Mr Kibaki should step down.



VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
John Kufuor on the 'positive' aspects of his talks



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