Friday, January 25, 2008

Hopeful handshake

Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga met Thursday and shook hands for the first time since the disputed Dec. 27 election that has thrown the East African nation into political turmoil. The two vowed to solve the political crisis that erupted after Kibaki claimed victory in a close election and swore in a new cabinet, even as Odinga disputed the vote counting process. The United States and Great Britain also expressed concerns about the vote. Thursday's meeting, which occurred at the urging of former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan of Ghana, ended with more heated rhetoric after Kibaki called himself Kenya's duly elected leader in remarks to reporters. Odinga's Orange Democratic Union party called Kibaki's claim to the presidency "illegal." Thursday's meeting happened after Annan apparently convinced Odinga to call off protests planned for that day. Recent protests have turned violent and resulted in the deaths of more than 600, many at the hands of police who have fired on demonstrators.

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