Germany appeals to Kenya ahead of rally

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German Foreign Minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier appeals to the government and opposition in Kenya to avoid violence at a mass rally called by defeated presidential candidate Raila Odinga in Nairobi.

3rd January 2008

Steinmeier telephoned Odinga and Foreign Minister Raphael Tuju on Wednesday evening, a statement released by the Foreign Ministry in Berlin said.

Odinga, who vowed to defy a police ban on the rally, told Steinmeier he would urge his supporters to remain peaceful and exercise moderation, the statement said.

The minister asked Tuju to ensure that the security forces exercise restraint and urged both men to do all in their power to avoid further bloodshed, following the disputed outcome of the December 27 vote.

Steinmeier said Germany was concerned at post-election unrest that has seen at least 300 people killed and marked a disturbing change in the usually peaceful country.

The German foreign minister said his country supported mediation efforts being undertaken by the African Union, the statement added.

Odinga has charged that the polls, which he lost by 230,000 votes to incumbent Mwai Kibaki, were flawed. Kibaki's Party of National Unity has insisted Kibaki was the rightful winner.


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