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Rice arrives in Kenya to push crisis talks

Rice arrives in Kenya to push crisis talks

Mon Feb 18, 2008 3:59am EST

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By Katie Nguyen

NAIROBI (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice arrived in Kenya on Monday to push talks to end the post-election crisis but can expect a lukewarm welcome from the government, bristling at Western pressure for a quick deal.

Rice, who was sent by President George W. Bush, is the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit the country since a December 27 vote triggered ethnic clashes that killed 1,000 people.

Bush says she will be bolstering efforts by former U.N. boss Kofi Annan to mediate a lasting political solution to one of the darkest chapters in Kenya’s post-independence history.

But on the eve of Rice’s visit, Kenya’s foreign minister had strong words for anyone trying to force a deal on the government.

“We encourage our friends to support us and not make any mistake of putting a gun to anybody’s head and saying ‘either/or’, because that cannot work,” Moses Wetangula said.

“Even if we get visitors to help us in any way possible, the answer to the problem in Kenya lies with Kenyans themselves.”

His comments looked to be a pointed reference to Bush’s statement of support for a power-sharing arrangement to end the turmoil that has affected one of the West’s allies in its fight against al Qaeda and ruined Kenya’s reputation for stability.

Bush, who is on the second leg of a five-nation Africa tour, says Washington wants to help the talks, not dictate a solution.  Continued…

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About SG

Secretary general of Chama Cha Mwananchi. This blog www.chamachamwananchi.wordpress.com, is based in Sweden.

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