Kenya peace talks put on hold

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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Talks to end the violence in Kenya have been put on hold.

The discussions, which have been going on for more than a month, aim to come to an agreement between the current President Mwai Kibaki of the ruling Party of National Unity and Raila Odinga, the leader of the oppositional Orange Democratic Movement. Violence sparked in the country after Mr. Odinga claimed that the voting was rigged in favour of the President.

The Orange Democratic Movement had threatened to restart protests if an agreement was not made, something which could cause further violence in the capital Nairobi and some other areas of the country. However, it has been agreed that Raila Odinga will fill the post of Prime Minister, which will be created once conditions of how power sharing will take placed are agreed upon.

1,500 people have died since the protests started last December and talks have recently managed to come to some progress, by agreeing to share power. Kofi Annan, the mediator of the talks and former head of the UN, has been quoted by the BBC as saying: "The talks have not broken down but I am taking steps to make sure we accelerate the process and give peace to the people as soon as possible."

Discussions have proven difficult, with Mr. Odinga blaming Mr. Kibaki for rigging elections and with the President blaming Odinga's Orange Democratic Movement for starting the violence, which has left up to 300,000 people displaced.