Kenyan leaders under pressure to resume talks

April 10th, 2008 - 6:22 pm ICT by admin  

Nairobi, April 10 (Xinhua) Kenyan leaders are under intense pressure from the international community to resume talks on forming a coalition government in a bid to end the current political impasse in the east African nation. Western nations and major donors Wednesday insisted that their future cooperation with the east African nation, once an oasis of stability in the war-ravaged continent, will depend on its establishing a government.

Diplomats from the US, Britain, the European Union (EU) and Canada have called on President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga to resolve the impasse over distribution of portfolios in a coalition cabinet.

“Power sharing requires flexibility on both sides, each side should be ready to make concessions,” said Adam Woods, British High Commissioner to Kenya, who spoke on behalf of foreign diplomats after a series of meetings in Nairobi Wednesday.

“A genuine grand coalition must reflect equal partnership and sharing of real power among the parties,” he said.

Head of Delegation of the EU in Kenya, Eric Van der Linden, said the two parties should not place conditions over individuals expected to join the coalition cabinet.

“We as friends of Kenya want an effective government to enable it serve the nation and end the anxiety,” said Linden. He said tension that had gripped the country following the delay in naming the cabinet was not healthy.

“Our appeal to both sides is that they engage in honest discussions on the matter,” Linden said. The team had also met Raila Tuesday over the cabinet stalemate.

US ambassador Michael Ranneberger joined the international calls on Kenya’s leaders to quickly resolve a protracted political crisis as new protests broke out Wednesday in the capital.

Ranneberger put pressure on Kibaki and Odinga to form a coalition government, saying Kenya’s relationship with the US depends on implementation of the stalled power-sharing accord.

“If the political accord is not implemented, it will make it difficult, if not impossible, for us to work in Kenya,” he said Wednesday, joining the international calls for quick formation of a cabinet to govern Kenya, a key ally in the war against terrorism.

“The whole US relationship with Kenya depends on the implementation of this political accord. We think it will be implemented,” Ranneberger said. “But if it is not, for whatever reason, then that would affect the whole relationship, and therefore it would have a huge impact on Kenya.”

Ranneberger said he met Tuesday with President Kibaki and Odinga and remains convinced the two will reach an agreement.

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said Wednesday he was “dismayed” by the stalling of the talks on power-sharing and urged the country’s leaders to agree a cabinet so it can move on.

“All sides must be prepared to make concessions to allow this to happen, including President Kibaki’s supporters ceding some powerful portfolios.”

Canadian Foreign Minister Maxime Bernier called for a quick solution to the cabinet impasse and urged the two leaders to implement the accord soonest.

“I call upon President Kibaki and Prime Minister-designate Odinga to proceed in good faith to implement that agreement, which included the establishment of a coalition cabinet,” Bernier said.

Ambassadors from the African Union (AU) also emphasised the need for “quick concessions” to break the current deadlock.

“We are concerned over what has been happening in the last three months in this country. When the agreement was signed we were hoping things were going to be better, but what we are continuing to witness is very worrying,” said Tadumi Ono’okoko, the dean of AU ambassadors.

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