Tuesday, January 29, 2008

More Headlines - Tues 1/29/2008

EU condemns Kenya killings, backs Annan talks

Tue Jan 29, 2008 3:09pm EST

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union condemned the murder of a Kenyan opposition lawmaker on Tuesday and urged the government and opposition to "engage fully" with U.N. envoy Kofi Annan in a bid to resolve the post-election crises.

"We were shocked to learn of the murder in Nairobi this morning of a member of the Kenyan parliament and we condemn the massive human rights abuses and systematic violence being perpetrated in Kenya," EU High Representative Javier Solana and EU Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid said in a joint statement.

Parlimentarian Melitus Were -- shot dead while driving up to the gate of his home -- was among a dozen people killed in the east African country on Tuesday, bringing the toll to more than 850 since President Mwai Kibaki's disputed December 27 election.

"We urge all parties and their followers as well as all Kenyan people to refrain from violence and to show the utmost restraint in order to avoid disaster, at this crucial point where Kenya's future hangs in the balance," the statement said.

Tuesday's turmoil came as former U.N. chief Kofi Annan held talks with Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga in abid to resolve the post-election crisis and an end to the killings.

Solana and Micel urged both leaders to "live up to their responsibilities by engaging fully and unconditionally in the search for a political solution through dialogue.

Western donors such as the EU and the United States have urged both sides -- who appear far apart -- to take the talks seriously or risk losing development aid.

(Reporting by Darren Ennis, editing by Andrew Roche)

© Reuters 2007. All rights reserved.

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