After three weeks of negotiations, the chief mediator in the Kenya reconciliation talks, former UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan announced on Friday that a deal to end Kenya?s post election crisis was near. However, Mr. Annan cautioned that still, difficult steps remained before the government and opposition could reach a settlement. 

Annan told reporters in Nairobi that government and opposition negotiators had made substantial progress and had signed a preliminary four-page agreement.

He said the talks are now focused on the mechanism for implementing the reforms. He said the sides will consult with their leaders and resume negotiations next week.

Violence that erupted after the December 27 election has claimed the lives of more than one-thousand people.

Michael Ole Tiampati is a political analyst based in Nairobi, Kenya. He told VOA reporter Akwei Thompson that, like other Kenyans, he shared a guarded optimism about the outcome of the talks.                   

Tiampati praised Annan for his handling of the negotiations. ?Knowing the kind of people Kenyan politicians are, and knowing the composition of the team that Annan is working with, I?d actually tend to think that he must be a very patient and a very knowledgeable mediator