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Last Updated: Tuesday, 12 February 2008, 09:34 GMT
Kenyans consider grand coalition
Raila Odinga (C) is mobbed by media as leaves a Nairobi hotel this month
Negotiators have been subjected to the full glare of the media
Former UN chief Kofi Annan has briefed Kenyan MPs about the progress of talks aimed at defusing the election crisis before they move to a secret location.

He did not give any details but a BBC correspondent says he seems to be moving towards the idea of a grand coalition with new polls next year.

Mr Annan has ruled out a recount and says Kenya is too unstable for new elections for at least a year.

At least 1,000 people have died after the opposition said polls were rigged.

More than 600,000 people have been forced to flee their homes amid clashes between rival ethnic groups, seen as pro-opposition or pro-government.

Blackout

As they enter a third week, the talks between government and opposition teams are being moved away from the capital, Nairobi, for three days to avoid the glare of publicity.

The current crisis is a big challenge but it provides an opportunity for Kenyan leaders to steer the country to a new level of stability
Kofi Annan

Mr Annan said he had asked both sides not to discuss the contents of the talks with anyone else, calling for a complete news blackout.

He says that at the appropriate time, he will release the outcome of discussions to the media.

Caution

Mr Annan has hinted that the deal will include comprehensive constitutional, judicial and electoral reforms.

Both the opposition Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) and President Mwai Kibaki's Party of National Unity (PNU) have tabled proposals for a power-sharing agreement.

Mr Annan has however cautioned against speculation over the proposals being discussed and hinted that a deal may be reached in three days.

He described the teams at the negotiating table as level-headed and expressed confidence that they will deliver a negotiated settlement.

"The current crisis is a big challenge but it provides an opportunity for Kenyan leaders to steer the country to a new level of stability," Mr Annan told MPs at a special session in parliament.

He commended the government for lifting a ban on live media coverage and holding of political meetings.

The former UN chief reiterated that both ODM leader Raila Odinga and President Kibaki have been well briefed of the progress so far and are in total support of the process.

Mr Annan also called on the MPs to travel to their constituencies and preach peace and tolerance insisting that both teams have agreed to ensure that those behind the recent clashes are investigated and prosecuted.





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