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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 January 2008, 19:37 GMT
MEPs back freeze on cash to Kenya
By Alix Kroeger
BBC News, Strasbourg

Protests in Kisumu, western Kenya
MEPs want the Kenyan government to find a political solution
The European Parliament has called for the EU to suspend budgetary support to the Kenyan government in the wake of post-election violence there.

MEPs have no direct say over the aid budget but they want member states to halt further transfers of EU funds.

Last month, the EU transferred 40m euros (30m) to the government of President Mwai Kibaki, the day after the disputed election.

MEPs says this could be misunderstood as "politically biased".

They want the EU to suspend further transfers until the current crisis is resolved.

No aid freeze

British Labour MEP Glenys Kinnock told the BBC News Website that the European Commission would be obliged to listen to the parliament.

"We're not saying aid should be frozen, but direct budgetary support should end," she said.

"Kenya's being held up as a beacon and it is in many ways. But they have to clean up their act. We will not let it drop."

EU development commissioner Louis Michel told the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Wednesday that all options were on the table.

"If there is not quickly a deal between the parties to return to calm... budgetary aid... will not continue, but we cannot purely and simply suspend all development aid," he said.

The EU has planned to give almost 400m euros in aid between 2008-2013 and most of that was due to be routed via government departments.

MEPs can only advise and cannot make a decision themselves. But the unanimous vote sends a strong signal to EU governments about the disquiet provoked by the elections in Kenya and their aftermath.

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