News 2008


Envoys’ warning over talks

February 12, 2008


By Vincent Bartoo

Five foreign diplomats urged President Kibaki and ODM leader, Mr Raila Odinga, to agree on a political solution to the political crisis.

They warned that any party sabotaging the Annan-led mediation talks would earn the wrath of the international community.

"Kenya is a vital country in this region and the international community is not ready to watch it slump into anarchy," said Norwegian Ambassador to Kenya, Ms Hellen Jacobsen.

She added: "If we allow it, other countries in this region would be affected and this will be a threat to the stability of the (African) continent."

Jacobsen was speaking when she and four other diplomats visited displaced people at the Eldoret ASK showground, on Monday.

The others were Mr Rolland Hausan (Austria), Mr Tony Musimanga (South Africa), Ms Elizabeth Barbier (France) and Ms Laeticia van den Assum (Netherlands).

Speaking to journalists, the envoys further said Kibaki and Raila must ensure that their parties and supporters were committed to the mediation talks.

"They should rally their supporters behind their representatives at the negotiating table to ensure that what is agreed on is acceptable to all Kenyans," added Musimanga.

They added that once the political crisis was resolved, both sides of the political divide should formulate long-term solutions.

"Let us not mistake the calm that has returned to mean peace. There is need to resolve all the underlying factors that caused the crisis," said Jacobsen.

She cited land, unemployment, governance, and distribution of resources as among the explosive issues that need to be addressed.

The envoys sympathised with the plight of the displaced, saying the humanitarian crisis is "enormous".

"There is need for a quick solution to end the suffering of these people because it will require a great deal of resources to sustain them in these camps," said Hausan.

Meanwhile, Anglican Church Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, also visited the Eldoret showground and expressed concern over the refugees’ conditions.

He called for a speedy solution to the ongoing mediation talks to enable the refugees go back to their homes.

"Kenyans have lived together in peace for many years. Do not let anything divide you. Preach and practise peace," he said.