Kofi Annan to chair Kenyan talks

KENYA’S rival leaders have agreed to work with a mediation panel led by former UN chief Kofi Annan to end a political crisis that has claimed hundreds of lives, said the head of the African Union yesterday.

“The parties agreed to work together with a panel of eminent African personalities headed by Mr Kofi Annan... towards resolving their differences and all other outstanding issues,” said African Union chief and Ghanaian President John Kufuor.

However, a Kenyan foreign ministry official cast doubts on the prospects of a resolution, saying Mr Kufuor’s talks with President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga had “failed to end the deadlock” between the two men.

“Both sides did not let go of their positions,” said the official. Mr Kufuor had spent two days trying to bring Mr Kibaki and Mr Odinga into direct contact to negotiate an end to the turmoil triggered by the president’s disputed re-election victory over his rival late last month.

“The positive aspect is that both sides agreed to an end to violence,” said Mr Kufuor.

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