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Annan to meet Kenyan President, PM

NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 5 – Former United Nations Chief Kofi Annan, who arrived in Nairobi late on Sunday, is expected to hold talks with President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga to pile pressure on the need to accelerate the country’s reform process.

Mr Annan, who helped Kenya get out of the crisis after the 2007 disputed Presidential Elections, was scheduled to meet the two coalition partners at Harambee House early on Monday, an official at the Prime Minister’s office said.

Earlier reports had indicated he was to meet the Prime Minister at his Treasury Building office.

“The meeting has been moved to the office of the President,” the official said.

Upon his arrival, Mr Annan told reporters that his main agenda was to convince the two coalition partners and other political leaders on the need to complete the reform process, which appeared to have stalled.

“The purpose of my trip is to get a better understanding of how the National Dialogue agreements are being implemented some 18 months after the formation of the Coalition Government,” he said at a press conference at the Serena Hotel.

He said he had been following events in Kenya very closely and concluded “clearly, the Kenyan people are expecting more from the Coalition Government – more unity of purpose, more progress on the reform agenda, more concrete action to end impunity and combat corruption.”

“Those sentiments are understandable, and I will be urging the Coalition Government to listen to the voices of the people and do more to push forward the essential reforms.”

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He said he was particularly concerned that little had been done in achieving far-reaching reforms such as the ones agreed on during the National Dialogue negotiations last year.

They include Electoral reforms, police and judicial reforms as well as land reforms which, he said, should be tackled well before the 2012 general elections.

In Kenya today, he said, there is added pressure to complete the reforms – including a new Constitution, electoral reforms well before the 2012 elections, so as to prevent a recurrence of the crisis and violence experienced after the 2007 elections.

“And yet, with a sense of urgency and national spirit, it can be done and done in a reasonable time,” he said, adding that “achieving reforms will also depend on the strong commitment and political will of the coalition parties and parliamentarians.”

During Mr Annan’s three-day visit, he said he would also hold talks with other political leaders, civil society representatives, religious leaders and other interest groups.


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