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Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan leaves Kenya after making peace deal

ICC Note

Kofi Annan mediated talks between rival political parties in Kenya following the national election of December 2007. The violence resulted in death of more than one thousand Kenyans and destruction of properties including burning of churches.

By Michael Ireland
Sunday, March 2, 2008 Kenya (ANS) — Former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan has left Kenya after helping secure a deal between the country’s rival political leaders, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) reports.

Mr Annan successfully mediated in talks following the presidential election in December which the opposition said was flawed by vote rigging. A thousand people have been killed in violence since the poll on December 27, 2007.

The power-sharing deal gave opposition leader Raila Odinga the post of executive prime minister, the BBC said.

Mr Annan has said he will be back in Kenya to monitor progress in efforts to reform Kenya ‘s constitution and institutions. He urged all Kenyans to take part in building a healed and reconciled country, and not leave it to the politicians.

“I would urge all of you to remain engaged,” he said in a message to Kenyans on his departure. We want Kenya to return to the old Kenya : stable, peaceful, prosperous and welcoming.”

“Each and every one of you has a role to play,” he added.

Mr Annan arrived in Kenya on January 22 when rival ethnic communities were engaged in horrific acts of blood-letting following the disputed election. He said he would come with no solution to Kenya ‘s problems but to insist that one was found.

The BBC’s Adam Mynott in Nairobi says Annan’s arrival immediately injected an air of relative calm and that was reinforced when, two days later, he persuaded President Kibaki and Mr Odinga to meet and shake hands.

A negotiating process was set up and agreements on ways to end the violence and tackle the humanitarian crisis quickly followed. The talks then stalled and started to lose ground.

The former UN secretary general insisted that negotiations were always going to be a matter of give and take. But a week ago they hit a crisis point and on Tuesday he suspended discussions between the panel and negotiators because no progress was being made.

He said Mr Kibaki and Mr Odinga had to take responsibility and meet.

Five hours of discussions led to an agreement on power sharing and a path towards a stable future.

The BBC correspondent says Kenyans owe Kofi Annan and his diplomatic skills a huge debt of gratitude.

Dave Osborne, an American working in Kisumu, western Kenya , says of the peace deal: “If it sticks, it means we can live in peace.”

He told ASSIST News: “The U.S. embassy has warned Americans that there still could be demonstrations and clashes between the public and the police because things are still on edge.

“If it works, I think there will be more of a balance in power. Rather than one tribe getting all the key positions and government money being funneled into their area, I think it’ll be more spread out.”

He said he doesn’t know how it’ll work out in everyday life for Kenyans.

“We’ll have to wait and see.”

Details Of The Power-Sharing Deal

**New two-party coalition government to be set up

**Cabinet posts to be divided equally between parties

**Raila Odinga to take new post of prime minister, can only be dismissed by National Assembly

**Two new deputy Prime Ministers to be appointed, one from each member of the two-party coalition