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Rice Not Expecting Final Deal From Kenya Visit


In Kenya, government and opposition negotiators are preparing to resume reconciliation talks after making progress last week on a political solution to the Kenya crisis. U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is expected in the Kenyan capital Monday to show support for the process. The White House said Sunday it does not expect Rice's visit to result in a final deal. Correspondent Scott Bobb reports from Nairobi.

Government and opposition negotiators prepared to resume a fourth week of talks after a three-day break for consultations with their leaders.

Chief mediator Kofi Annan Friday said the two sides have made considerable progress toward a political settlement of the December elections. One thousand people were killed and several hundred thousand were displaced in violence that erupted after the opposition said the vote was rigged.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was expected Monday in the Kenyan capital to meet with President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga.

President Bush told reporters at the beginning of a five-nation trip to Africa that Rice's one-day visit was to show support for the process.

"The key is that the leaders hear from her firsthand U.S. desires to see that there be no violence and that there be a power sharing agreement that will help this nation resolve its difficulties," Mr. Bush said.

A senior Bush administration official said a main purpose of Rice's mission was to underscore that the Kenyan government does not have the unqualified support of the U.S. government unless it compromises in the talks.

Government negotiators reportedly have resisted a proposed coalition government. The opposition, which won nearly one-half of the seats in parliament, has demanded a sizable number of ministerial posts under such an arrangement.

Annan said Friday one party alone cannot pass the legislation necessary to implement the needed reforms. He believes that some form of power sharing, or what he called a grand coalition, is necessary to break the deadlock that has paralyzed government and threatens economic growth.

"I urge my Kenyan friends and the political leaders to consider this (power sharing) as a very serious option," Annan said. "Otherwise, they will have to convince me that separately they can do it, [that] divided they can move the nation forward. I don't see it."

The two sides have signed a four-page agreement that calls for an independent investigation into the elections and prosecution of those responsible for the violence.

The accord also calls for a truth and reconciliation commission. And it calls for sweeping reforms to the Kenyan constitution, electoral laws, political institutions and security forces.

Annan is due to resume his mediation efforts Tuesday.


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