News 2008


Bush to send Rice to Kenya to boost peace bid (no - NOT food-rice!)


14. 02. 2008


US President George W. Bush said Thursday he plans to send Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to Kenya to support efforts to end violence and help political reconciliation there.

His announcement came just hours after the United Nations announced that Kenya's rival parties signed an agreement during talks led by Kofi Annan aiming to end weeks of political turmoil that has left more than 1,000 people dead.

"In Kenya, we are backing the efforts of former UN secretary general Kofi Annan to end the crisis," Bush said in a speech in Washington ahead of an Africa trip that begins Friday.

"And when we are on the continent, I have asked Condi Rice to travel to Kenya to support the work of the former secretary general and to deliver a message directly to Kenya's leaders," he said.

"There must be an immediate halt to violence, there must be justice for the victims of abuse, and there must be a full return to democracy."

Rice's spokesman Sean McCormack said the secretary will travel to Kenya on Monday for several hours to meet President Mwai Kibaki as well as his rival Raila Odinga who accuses Kibaki of having stolen the December 27 election.

Rice will separate from Bush when they stop in Tanzania, according to a senior State Department official who requested anonymity. She will make a brief round trip from Dar es-Salaam to Nairobi with a few staff.

During his Africa tour, Bush plans to visit Benin, Tanzania, Rwanda, Ghana and Liberia on what is likely to be his final trek through Africa before leaving office in January 2009.

Details of the Kenyan agreement were expected to emerge when Annan gives a news conference Friday to "outline what was agreed in 48 hours of discussion at a location outside the capital, said a UN statement in Nairobi.

"Mr. Annan will make available the text of the agreement signed today between the two parties," it added.

However, Kenya's chief government negotiator Martha Karua said the crisis talks had not reached a definitive resolution.

Annan had been pushing for a power-sharing agreement to resolve the dispute over the result of the December 27 presidential election that unleashed nationwide violence.