Friday, February 1, 2008

Table manners

Finally, some good news out of Kenya, although it's only preliminary. Former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan said today that the two main political parties locked in a deadly dispute over Kenya's Dec. 27 presidential election have agreed to a framework for negotiations to resolve the monthlong crisis, the Reuters international news agency reported. Annan said President Mwai Kibaki's Party of National Unity and opposition leader Raila Odinga's Orange Democratic Movement of opposition leader Raila Odinga committed to discuss how to stop the rash of tribal killings, resolve the immediate political crisis and get humanitarian aid to 300,000 Kenyans displaced by violence within 15 days, Reuters said. Annan, who is heading mediation efforts in the east African nation, was joined today by current Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon. Kibaki was re-elected to a second term on Dec. 27 after a ballot count that raised the concern of international observers. Since the results were announced, Kenya has been convulsed by tribal violence in formerly calm communities. Kibaki claimed victory and appointed a new cabinet, but Odinga said the election was stolen from him. Annan said the parties also committed to finding a long-term solution to problems exposed by the violence, which apparently date back to land and wealth distribution at the time of Kenya's independence from Great Britian 44 years ago. More than 800 have died in the past month's violence; two members of parliament from the Orange Democratic Movement have been killed in the past week.

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