News 2008


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 Kenya’s stability.

"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 consequences."

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."