World heaps praise on Kenya’s reconciled leaders

February 29th, 2008 - 10:15 pm ICT by admin  

Nairobi, Feb 29 (DPA) Congratulations to Kenya’s reconciled leaders poured in from across the world Friday, mere days after the international community threatened to push the politicians into a deal if they did not strike one soon. President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga signed a much-awaited power-sharing deal Thursday that is likely to see Odinga take what will be a newly created post of prime minister once parliament amends the constitution.

A day before the deal was reached, more than 20 diplomatic missions as well as the US warned that those who were blocking a deal would face necessary consequences. But Friday, praise rang out and threats were withdrawn.

“This is a great day for Kenya and its people. In the last few days, Kenya found itself at a crossroads. I am delighted that Kenya’s political leaders … have shown the wisdom and vision to choose the path of compromise and reconciliation,” said European Union aid chief Louis Michel.

A week after US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice jetted into the country and warned that “the time for a political settlement was yesterday,” she congratulated Kenyans who celebrated in the streets when the agreement was signed.

“The agreement reached is an important step to sustain Kenya on its democratic path and demonstrates to the world that even the most profound crises can be resolved if there is the political will to do so,” she said in a statement.

Kibaki announced that parliament would be convened Thursday to begin the process of working the agreements into the constitution.

Negotiating teams led by mediator and former United Nations secretary general Kofi Annan met Friday to begin working on the underlying causes of the conflict, such as disputed land ownership and uneven distribution of resources.

The African Union, which mandated Annan with leading the talks, “encouraged the parties to fully implement the agreement … and carry on with the urgent task of addressing the long-term issues and creating conditions for lasting peace and stability in Kenya.”

The crisis over December’s disputed polls has seen more than 1,000 people killed and more than 300,000 displaced in violence that unleashed ethnic tensions and marked a disturbing change in the ordinarily peaceful nation.

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