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British PM hails African Union push in Kenya

Gordon Brown welcomes an African Union initiative to resolve the crisis in Kenya, which he said could lead to a government of national unity in Nairobi.

world Updated: Jan 02, 2008 21:15 IST

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown welcomed on Wednesday an African Union initiative to resolve the crisis in Kenya, which he said could lead to a government of national unity in Nairobi.



Brown said African Union leader John Kufuor will meet President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga on Thursday to try to resolve a standoff after disputed elections in the former British colony.



"I welcome his decision that .. he will go to Kenya," he told reporters, adding that Kufuor was "well respected right across Africa as someone who has promoted human rights in his country and across Africa."



"He will call on them to urge their supporters to end violence and he will work with the parties to ensure reconciliation is brought about and perhaps a chance that some of the people who are at the moment opponents may join a government of national unity."



And he added: "I think it is very important that the international community supports the efforts of President Kufuor," who is president of Ghana.



"He is trying very hard with other people to bring an end to the violence and we will give whatever support we can to President Kufuor's mediation, which will take place tomorrow."



The dispute over last week's presidential ballot, focused on discrepancies in the counting process, has triggered Kenya's worst urban unrest in 25 years and undermined east Africa's largest economy.



President Mwai Kibaki's narrow re-election and his swearing in on Sunday sparked violence across the country -- much of it along tribal lines that has led to mutual accusations of ethnic cleansing.



Defeated opposition challenger Raila Odinga, who claims Kibaki stole the election, plans to hold a mass rally on Thursday declaring himself the "people's president".