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Kenyan Government Says it Will Accept Election Re-Run If Ordered by Court


The Kenyan government says it will accept a re-run of last week's disputed presidential election, if a court orders a new vote.

A spokesman for President Mwai Kibaki, Alfred Mutua, made the comment to reporters in Nairobi Friday. He spoke after the opposition Orange Democratic Movement called for new elections to end days of deadly unrest that has killed more than 300 people.

Opposition leaders accuse the government of rigging last Thursday's election to ensure Mr. Kibaki's re-election.

A United Nations spokeswoman says Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon spoke with both the president and opposition leader Raila Odinga Friday and appealed for a return to calm and normalcy. He called for both leaders to resolve their differences through dialogue.

The U.N. says the unrest that followed the election has now displaced 250,000 people within Kenya.

Security forces were deployed around Nairobi today to prevent a planned opposition protest that never materialized.

Supporters tried to rally in the capital on Thursday, but were stopped by police who used tear gas and water cannon to block them from reaching the rally site at Nairobi's Uhuru Park.

In other news, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Jendayi Frazer has arrived in Kenya. She plans to meet separately with President Kibaki and opposition leader Odinga. Washington is urging the Kenyan leaders to begin a dialogue aimed at political reconciliation.

Mr. Kibaki has said he will talk with political rivals when post-election violence ends.

Much of the fighting has been between Odinga's Luo tribe and the president's Kikuyu tribe. Both sides have accused the other of committing acts of genocide.

Today, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner became the latest high-ranking foreign official to question the presidential results. Kouchner told France's RTL radio that he thinks the elections were rigged. He said the post-election violence is both an ethnic battle and a battle for democracy.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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