No solution to Kenya crisis as Annan deadline expires

Other News Materials 15 February 2008 12:56 (UTC +04:00)

(dpa) - A 72-hour deadline to find a political settlement to end the crisis in Kenya expired Friday without any concrete solution to the conflict over disputed polls in sight.

Mediator and former United Nations secretary general Kofi Annan set the deadline earlier this week, confidently saying he expected a resolution to the impasse after negotiating teams were ferried off to a secluded safari resort to hash out details.

But according to local media, no final answer was reached, but rather the teams, representing President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga, had agreed to write a new constitution within a year and give cabinet positions to opposition legislators.

But the thorny issue of power sharing and the extent to which a grand coalition could take place was not agreed upon.

Annan was set to brief the press later Friday about the details of the newly-reached agreement and was set to resume talks between the two sides on Monday.

Observers have questioned the willingness of each side to renege on their demands and warn of a long haul to end the conflict.

"If people are prepared to compromise and to act on a basis of goodwill, it should be fairly easy. The problem is bad faith and dishonesty between both camps," said David Ndii, and independent political consultant.

The new deal came as US President George W Bush said he would send Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who is accompanying him on a trip to Africa next week, to Kenya to meet the leaders and help find a solution.

The stalemate over the disputed polls in December sparked a wave of violence that has left more than 1,000 dead and displaced more than 300,000.