Ban Ki-moon To Visit Strife-Torn Kenya
Ban Ki-moon To Visit Strife-Torn Kenya Website
Mr. Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General has warned that violence in Kenya could spiral out of control and said he would visit that country, where more than 800 people were killed in ethnic clashes triggered by the aftermath of rigged elections. Mr. Ban said he would travel to Nairobi to give his full support to the Panel of Eminent African Persons, led by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, which was trying to resolve the current crisis. While in Nairobi, Mr. Ban intends to meet with Mr. Raila Odinga, Opposition leader, civil society leaders and the UN staff. A UN statement quoted Mr Ban as saying, "If political leaders fail to act responsibly in the interests of all Kenyan people, the situation could escalate beyond control," and that the UN was ready to provide all necessary assistance. Speaking to reporters in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, Mr. Ban called on the Kenyan people to "stop the killings and end the violence now, before it is too late." "Kenya can remain stable and prosperous, a model to all Africa," he added. "We must all do our utmost to ensure that it does so." Addressing the opening session of the African Union Summit earlier in Addis Ababa, Mr. Ban drew attention to the alarming developments in Kenya, calling on the gathered African leaders to urge the leaders and people of Kenya to calm the violence and resolve their differences through dialogue and respect for the democratic process. In a meeting with President Mwai Kibaki on the sidelines of the summit, Mr. Ban encouraged the Kenyan leader to move toward a quick resolution of the crisis, according to a UN spokesperson. The two men discussed the humanitarian situation in the country and the situation of internally displaced persons (IDPs), as well as the Secretary-General's trip to Nairobi. Mr. Ban encouraged the Kenyan leader to move toward a quick resolution of the crisis. More than a quarter of a million people have been forced to flee their homes due to the violence, which began late last year after Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki was declared the winner over opposition leader Raila Odinga in December elections. In a related development, Kenyan women have called for an immediate end to inter-ethnic killings, impunity and gross violations of human rights, especially the increasing cases of sexual crimes and gang rapes. In a communiqué handed over to Mr. Annan's team, the women appealed for an urgent response to the special needs of women and children who constituted the majority of IDPs. According to a news release from the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), they also called for constitutional reforms and measures to restore the rule of law and order, and appealed to all Kenyans to respect and embrace different democratic opinions. Consultations have been held over the past couple of weeks on getting women effectively engaged in national efforts to resolve the crisis.