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Kenya's Rival Parties Sign Agreement Before Adjourning Talks


Kenya's feuding political parties have signed an agreement, but a government negotiator says no conclusive deal has been reached to end the country's political crisis.

A different government negotiator said Thursday that the government and opposition have agreed to write a new constitution within a year.

There has been no comment from the opposition or the chief mediator, former United Nations chief Kofi Annan.

A spokesman for Mr. Annan says he will hold a press conference Friday to outline the agreement signed today. The spokesman said talks have adjourned for the week and will resume Monday.

Mr. Annan is trying to negotiate an end to the violent dispute over Kenya's presidential election.

More than 1,000 people have died in clashes since the opposition accused President Mwai Kibaki of stealing the December 27 election.

President Bush announced today that he is sending Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to Kenya to demand an end to the violence.

Rice will accompany Mr. Bush on his upcoming trip to Africa. Mr. Bush said he has asked Rice to support Mr. Annan's mediation efforts and call for a full return to democracy.

Separately today, Kenya's foreign minister lashed out at a top British diplomat who said Britain does not recognize President Kibaki as legitimately elected.

On Wednesday, the British High Commissioner to Kenya told Kenyan television that given election irregularities, Britain does not recognize the current Kenyan government as representing the will of the Kenyan people.

Kenya's foreign minister rejected the comments.

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

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