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Annan suspends talks to end Kenya crisis

Annan said he will now speak to President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga personally to try to reinvigorate talks.

world Updated: Feb 27, 2008 12:11 IST

Talks to end Kenya's deadly post election crisis were suspended after dragging on for weeks with no tangible progress, mediator Kofi Annan said.

Annan, who delivered a sharp rebuke to both sides a day earlier, said on Tuesday he would now speak to President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga personally to try to reinvigorate talks. The two have been under international pressure to share power to move the country beyond their standoff over Dec 27 presidential elections.

"I hope people will understand this is a move intended to speed up action," Annan said.

Odinga says the election was a sham; Kibaki says it made him the legitimate leader. International and local monitors say the results of the vote were manipulated, making it unclear who would have won.

Post election violence has largely subsided in recent weeks, but attacks that left more 1,000 dead and forced 600,000 from their homes have left the country on edge and worried about the potential for more turmoil. The bloodshed has tarnished the reputation of a country once seen as a beacon of stability in Africa.

Much of the post election violence has been ethnic, between supporters of Kibaki , a Kikuyu and western groups who rally to opposition leader Odinga, a Luo.

The suspension of talks came as international pressure mounted and the opposition threatened to resume nationwide protests this week. Previous protests have turned violent, with dozens killed as police forced back the crowds.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice issued a statement earlier yesterday saying the delays were inexcusable. "There can also be no excuse for violence, and those responsible must be held accountable," she said.