EU to act on those who stall mediation
Published on February 28, 2008, 12:00 am
By Abiya Ochola and Caroline Mango
The European Union has expressed concern over the stalled negotiations and called for an effective power-sharing mechanism.
The EU presidency also warned of dire consequences to individuals who obstructed the process.
“The presidency emphasises that a means of effective power sharing in Kenya must be found and that individuals who obstruct the dialogue process will have to face the consequences,” read the statement from the EU presidency in Slovenia, faxed to newsrooms on Wednesday.
The presidency expressed concern over the stalling of the talks and supported efforts by the Panel of Eminent African Personalities, led by chief mediator, Dr Kofi Annan.
“The presidency is concerned to learn that there remains a serious gap between the Kenyan parties preventing them from reaching a final agreement.”
The statement came a day after Annan suspended the talks as the negotiating teams failed to reach a compromise.
Addressing the Press, Annan said the matter lay in the hands of the two principals: President Kibaki and ODM leader, Mr Raila Odinga.
The EU urged for what it termed constructive dialogue in a spirit of compromise.
“At this critical stage in the dialogue, the presidency strongly urges the parties to redouble their efforts to engage constructively in a spirit of compromise to secure a legitimate political settlement,” said the EU.
The French Embassy holds the EU local presidency.
Twenty-four European missions also warned: “Those identified as being involved in undermining the search for a political settlement will face the consequences of their actions”.
“We cannot emphasise enough the responsibility that Kibaki and Raila have personally towards the talks,” they said.
We strongly encourage both sides to redouble their efforts to reach an effective power sharing agreement for the sake of the country,” said the statement signed by Canada, Switzerland, Norway, Japan and European diplomatic missions in Kenya including Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Czech republic, Denmark, Finland, France, United Kingdom, Spain and Sweden.
The missions said they noted with great concern a statement by Annan that the negotiating teams had made no progress towards reaching an agreement on governance.
On Wednesday, they noted in the statement forwarded to newsrooms, “We continue to support the efforts of the Annan-led talks to assist Kenya’s leaders in finding a political solution that is acceptable to Kenyans and which addresses the longer term, underlying issues”.
The international community further said it recognised that some difficult decisions would have to be made and that many of the long-term issues would take time to work through a satisfactory conclusion.