News 2008


End Kenya violence, UN urges


Jan 31, 2008

UNITED NATIONS - The United Nations (UN) Security Council has deplored the continuing violence in Kenya spawned by last month’s disputed presidential poll and urged the country’s rival leaders to strive to bring it to an end.

"The council members deplored the continuing violence following the disputed elections...and called on Kenya’s leaders to do all in their power to bring the violence to an end and restore calm," Libya’s UN Ambassador Giadalla Ettalhi, who chairs the 15-member body this month, said in a statement.

He read out the statement to reporters after the council heard a briefing from UN under secretary general for political affairs Lynn Pascoe on the latest developments in the volatile east African powerhouse.

Ettalhi said all council members "expressed concern about the safety of the many UN personnel in Kenya and...underlined full support for the panel of eminent African personalities led by (former UN secretary general) Kofi Annan in seeking to resolve the crisis."

The council welcomed the convening of a national dialogue under Annan’s mediation and urged both sides "to engage fully and constructively to secure a political solution."

In his encounter with reporters, Pascoe highlighted the role played by UN chief Ban Ki-moon in efforts to involve African leaders in the push for a political solution. He said Ban, who is currently at the African Union (AU) summit in Addis Ababa, discussed the Kenyan crisis with African leaders yesterday and would do so again today.

"The real imperative is to immediately stop the violence, and that is up to the leaders," Pascoe said, stressing that the UN has been trying to provide assistance on both the humanitarian and political fronts since the very beginning of the crisis.

He also said council members were "very concerned" about the safety of the some 5,000 UN personnel in Kenya, east Africa’s largest economy and a major regional trading hub providing supplies to neighbouring Sudan, Somalia, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Ethiopia, all hit by conflict.

On Tuesday, Annan launched formal crisis talks between Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga as 22 died in fresh clashes stoked by the slaying of an opposition lawmaker.

The former UN chief said he hoped the immediate political issues could be resolved within four weeks and gave Kenya a year to resolve damage inflicted by a month of chaos in which almost 1,000 people have died. The violence was sparked by the disputed re-election of Kibaki one month ago.