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Kenyan Opposition Says Kibaki Trying to Undermine Mediation


Kenya's main opposition party says President Mwai Kibaki is trying to ruin mediation efforts aimed at resolving the country's political crisis.

The Orange Democratic Movement says it denounces and rejects Mr. Kibaki's statement Thursday that he is the "duly elected president of Kenya."

Mr. Kibaki made the statement after what appeared to be a breakthrough meeting with opposition chief Raila Odinga and former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan in Nairobi Thursday.

The meeting was the first time Mr. Kibaki and Mr. Odinga have met since last month's presidential election, which the opposition accuses the president of rigging.

Both men had indicated the talks would continue, and urged Kenyans to abstain from violence.

But the opposition later said Mr. Kibaki's claim to the presidency is meant to "undermine the mediation and prolong the suffering of the Kenyan people."

Post-election violence in Kenya has killed nearly 700 people.

There has been no word on exactly what Mr. Kibaki, Mr. Odinga and Mr. Annan discussed in today's meeting.

The opposition has repeatedly demanded that Mr. Kibaki step down or allow a re-run of last month's election. Mr. Kibaki has resisted such demands, while saying he is open to dialogue with opposition leaders.

Kenya's electoral commission declared Mr. Kibaki the winner of the December 27 vote. International election observers have questioned the result, saying the vote-counting process was flawed.

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

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