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Gordon Brown Praises Kenya Progress, Commitment

Gordon Brown Praises Kenya Progress And Commitment

23 July 2008 - Gordon Brown has praised the decision of the government and people of Kenya to "step back from the brink" and support a unity administration following disputed election results.

Speaking to journalists at a Downing Street press conference with Kenyan PM Raila Odinga, Mr Brown said the Kenyan people had "chosen to work together" and that the UK would play its part in helping the country rebuild. A business round-table was being hosted in London today to kick-start investment and development, he said.

The PM said:

"We welcome the commitment to power sharing, we welcome the strenuous efforts made by all sides to live up to the expectations of the Kenyan people and we will fulfil our promise to help with the rebuilding...I am convinced by my talks today that Kenya's leaders have the will and determination to take all the steps necessary and I applaud their commitment."

The UK and Kenya will also work together on a number of key issues, the PM said. These include combatting drugs trafficking operations, establishing a trade agreement in the Doha round of negotiations taking place this week in Geneva and building an East Africa stand-by brigade to help encourage stability in the region.

Mr Brown also said that the UK and Kenya would work to "uphold democracy" in Africa and called for an end to voilence against MDC supporters in Zimbabwe. Mr Odinga said that the Zimbabwean people had been "cheated of their will" following recent elections and that they deserved "better treatment".

Prime Minister Odinga also expressed his thanks to Gordon Brown and the UK for beginning the process of negotiation that ended in the founding of a national unity government in Kenya in April this year following a disputed election and unrest that claimed as many as 1,500 lives.

He said:

"Unknown to very many people, it was Prime Minister Gordon Brown who started off the process of negotiations through phone calls - one to me and the other one to President Kibaki during which he urged us to agree that he could play a role behind the scenes to broker negotiations. That phone call is what started it all off."

Mr Odinga said he wished to speak of a "new Kenya" that was appealing to the world for trade and investment to help rebuild its economy.

ENDS

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