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Kenya: Advances In Political Talks Welcomed

Kenya: Ban Ki-moon welcomes advances in political talks

15 February 2008 - Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has lauded the progress made towards ending the political crisis that has gripped Kenya since contested elections were held in the East African nation last December.

The parties to the Kenya National Dialogue and Reconciliation process, which includes the planned creation of an independent review of the electoral process, announced today that their talks are advancing.

In a statement, Mr. Ban said that he "hopes these understandings will contribute immediately to reduced levels of violence in the country," where some 1,000 people have lost their lives and more than 310,000 others displaced since the December elections in which President Mwai Kibaki was declared the winner over opposition leader Raila Odinga.

The Secretary-General expressed his concern for the safety of civilians, urging the full respect of human rights in the country and applauding "all those Kenyans who in these trying times have reached out to their neighbours irrespective of ethnic differences."

To heal the country's rifts, he said it was essential for its leaders to be open to compromise and reconciliation.

Mr. Ban also expressed his full and ongoing support for the mediation efforts of the Panel of Eminent African Personalities led by former Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

ENDS

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