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Kenya parties to begin mediation

From BBC: Wednesday, 30 January 2008, 08:04 GMT

Kenya’s government and opposition are due to begin full negotiations to try to end the crisis resulting from last month’s disputed presidential election.

President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga have each appointed three-man teams to discuss proposals drawn up by former UN chief Kofi Annan.

On Tuesday, he urged both sides to do “whatever possible” to restore calm.

Mr Annan’s warning came as at least nine people were killed in outbreaks of violence throughout the country on Tuesday, following the killing of Mugabe Ware, an MP from Mr Odinga’s Orange Democratic Movement (ODM).

Meanwhile, Kenya’s foreign minister has said Mr Kibaki will attend the African Union summit later this week, [MK: Of course I have to go to the “Old Boys'” club – less chance of assassination!] dismissing suggestions that there were more pressing issues for him to attend to at home. [MK: What would they be then? I am President, duly elected and sworn in – end of story!]

The three-man teams of representatives from Mr Kibaki’s Party of National Unity and the ODM will begin their deliberations in the capital, Nairobi, on Wednesday.
They negotiations will be based on a series of proposals drawn up by Mr Annan and his team, which includes former Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa and Graca Machel, the wife of ex-South African President Nelson Mandela.

The former UN secretary general has given the two sides four weeks to resolve the “immediate political issues” and much longer, up to a year, to sort out the details.
Launching the formal mediation process on Tuesday, Mr Annan warned that the crisis was having a “profound and negative impact” and urged both sides to take the talks seriously or risk losing international aid.

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