Kenya talks resume after Annan threatens to quit

February 26th, 2008 - 4:14 pm ICT by admin  

Nairobi, Feb 26 (DPA) Kenya’s rival political sides were forging ahead with talks to end the stalemate Tuesday, a day after mediator and former UN secretary general Kofi Annan threatened to pull out after seeing no progress. Annan cut the talks short Monday, stressing the parties were “not capable of resolving outstanding issues”, and opted instead to meet President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga, telling them the decisions were in their hands.

A source close to the talks told DPA that Annan would not be able to remain if the “foot dragging” continued, even after promising earlier to stay the course.

“He made his statement and now he wants to hear their responses,” said UN spokesman Nasser Ega-Musa.

The two sides have agreed on creating the position of a prime minister but have differed on how much power the post would have, with the government backtracking on the deal, saying the president would hold the same powers as always, local media reported.

Odinga’s Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) has also demanded a 50-50 split in cabinet postings, including important ministries like finance and foreign affairs, but the government has all but refused the request.

ODM has pledged to call its supporters to the streets in peaceful protests if its demands are not met and a rally is planned for Thursday.

Much hangs on the success of the talks, with ethnic-based militias said to be arming themselves and more violence expected if the negotiations fail.

Protests and ethnic clashes gripped the country for most of last month, paralysing the economy and killing more than 1,000 people.

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