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Cablegate: Kenya's Electoral Crisis: Kofi Annan - a New

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P 231411Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY NAIROBI
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INFO RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
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RHMFIUU/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RHMFIUU/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS NAIROBI 000245

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

LONDON AND PARIS FOR AFRICA WATCHERS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PGOV PREL KDEM KE
SUBJECT: KENYA'S ELECTORAL CRISIS: KOFI ANNAN - A NEW
SHERIFF IN TOWN

REF: NAIROBI 200

1. Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan arrived in Nairobi
on January 22 with the strong public backing of the United
States, the African Union, the European Union, and the United
Nations. He gave a press conference upon arrival in which he
evinced a no-nonsense, serious and determined approach toward
initiating talks between the two principals -- Kibaki and
Odinga -- to resolve Kenya's ongoing political crisis. Annan
welcomed the fact that ODM and PNU had appointed negotiating
teams, but his message was clear: he came to Nairobi to deal
with the principals, not their teams. Annan stated that his
priority is to facilitate direct talks between Kibaki and
Odinga as soon as possible. He would meet individually with
each leader to arrange a face-to-face meeting between them
with the purpose of resolving the current crisis. He asked
both sides to show good faith and enter into a genuine
dialogue.

2. Annan said that his efforts aim not only to resolve the
immediate crisis in the short term, but also to convince the
two sides over the medium term to open dialogue on structural
issues that underlie Kenya's severe political and ethnic
polarization. Annan expressed a sentiment often heard among
worried Kenyans - that if his mission fails, then Kenya could
suffer severe and prolonged consequences from the present
conflict.

3. COMMENT: Annan's visit has inspired great hope among
Kenyans that at last the two antagonists will sit down and
begin to negotiate a deal to conclude this sad chapter in
Kenya's history. It is also notable that the government gave
ODM permission to hold memorial services in Kisumu and
Nairobi on January 23, the first day of Annan's visit. (The
Nairobi memorial event was marred by some violence instigated
by a few ODM youth. Otherwise, it was largely peaceful as
was the Kisumu event.) This conciliatory move is a marked
contrast to the government's reaction to the arrival of AU
Chairman Kufuor, the last international facilitator to
attempt to arrange a dialog between the two leaders. At that
time, the government sent the police into the streets to
disrupt ODM's planned protests and then named half the
cabinet positions. The Ambassador will meet with Annan on
January 24 to review the state of play, express our strong
support for his efforts, and to promote close coordination.
RANNEBERGER

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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