US denies pushing for coalition government in Kenya
(AFP) - The United States is pushing for political reconciliation but not necessarily a coalition government in Kenya, the State Department said Thursday, denying European Union remarks from Brussels.
In Brussels, a spokeswoman for EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana said he and US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called for the creation of a coalition government to end post-election violence in the east African nation.
"It's not quite how the secretary, at least from our side, would characterize the situation," State Department spokesman Sean McCormack told reporters.
"Her message again...is one of political reconciliation," he added. "We're not going to dictate the outcome of any discussions between the two parties."
Instead, McCormack said, Washington is urging Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga to "have a political dialogue that leads to a political solution, whatever that may be."
Kenya's main opposition party claims the vote count after last week's presidential election was rigged.
More than 340 people have been killed in violence since the election and tens of thousands displaced, mainly in western regions.
A Solana spokeswoman told AFP that Kibaki and Odinga , who spoke by phone, "agreed the focus should be on pressing the parties to agree on setting up a coalition government."
In denying the remarks in Brussels, McCormack said he heard the characterization as a call for a "national unity government," which carries the same meaning.