UK, Swiss caution hardliners
February 14, 2008
By Ben Agina
The UK Government has warned that individuals who stand in the way
of Dr Kofi Annan-led mediation talks would "face the consequences".
At the same time, Switzerland says it was considering cancelling
visas for hardliners.
British Foreign Secretary, Mr David Miliband, said the Annan talks
had reached a crucial stage, and urged politicians to compromise.
"Now is the time to break the appalling cycle of violence and to
commit to finding political solutions, which will address the
underlying issues," said Miliband in a statement released on
Wednesday in London.
The minister urged leaders to turn the crisis into an opportunity
to establish the basis for a lasting solution that enhances
"I’m encouraged that Kofi Annan and his panel of Eminent Persons
have been bringing the parties together to find a way through the
post-election crisis," said Miliband.
He said the UK would continue to work with the international
community in support of Annan.
Miliband welcomed the engagement of the African Union, European
Union and UN Security Council.
But despite the optimism, UK warned: "We are clear that those
individuals who stand in the way of progress will have to face the
And Switzerland embassy counsellor, Mr Arthur Mattli, said his
country would take measures on leaders seen to have held back the
talks, subverting democracy or promoting violence.
Such actions include restricting entry in the country.
Mattli reiterated Switzerland’s support of Annan and the Panel of
Eminent Persons, who UN has mandated to bring together the
Government and ODM.
"Switzerland considers the mediation the only way to resolve the
crisis into which Kenya has plunged following the announcement of
the contentious results of the presidential elections held on
December 27," Mattli noted.
To ensure success, Switzerland urged all parties to remain
committed to the arbitration.
The warnings come in the wake of protests by the Government over
alleged "inaccurate" briefing by Annan during the MPs’ ‘Kamukunji’
at the Old Parliament Chambers on Tuesday.
The Government was alarmed by Annan’s assertion that "the dialogue
team had agreed to have a transitional government for two years
after which we shall hold presidential elections".
The team leader, Justice and Constitutional Affairs minister, Ms
Martha Karua, said in her protest note: "These inaccuracies have
caused us distress and great embarrassment as they have
misrepresented our position."