German and EU officials applauded a deal reached by Kenya's president and opposition leader to create a power-sharing government on Thursday, Feb. 28. Britain said it would sponsor a donor summit for the African nation.
Kofi Annan (center) helped bring the two sides together
In a bid to end a post-election crisis that plunged Kenya into its worst turmoil since independence, President Mwai Kibaki and rival Raila Odinga signed a deal on Thursday to create a power-sharing government.
"We have a deal," mediator and former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said. "Compromise was necessary for the survival of this country ... they kept the future of Kenya always in their sights and reached a common position for the good of the nation."
The United States, Britain and the European Union applauded the deal, which they had pushed to be inked as soon as possible in order to end bitter negotiations and outbreaks of violence around the country in the past month.
Post-election violence caused thousands to flee their homes
EU Commissioner for Development Louis Michel spoke of a "great day for Kenya and its people," and praised Annan's tireless efforts as a mediator in the crisis.
EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana also praised Annan's efforts and said he hoped peace would return to Kenya.
"This is a particularly important agreement that will enable Kenya to return to stability and prosperity and will also have a positive impact throughout the region," Solana said in a statement.
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier also welcomed Thursday's deal.
"Kenya has grasped the opportunity to resolve its political crisis peacefully and to return to stability," he said.
In order to help the new government to its feet, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said he would sponsor a donor summit to provide aid to Kenya.
"We'd be prepared in London to host a donors conference to make sure Kenya has the best chance to build upon this power-sharing agreement, to restore tourism (and) get the economy moving again," he told reporters after speaking to Annan.
Ethnic clashes resulted from disputed election
Tourism in Kenya drastically dropped when violence broke out
Kibaki's disputed reelection on Dec. 27, 2007 triggered unrest that killed some 1,000 people and forced 300,000 more to flee their homes.
Thursday's deal creates a new prime minister's post for Odinga, who has sought that job since he first helped Kibaki to power in 2002.
The deal also assigns cabinet posts based on each party's strength in parliament, and creates two deputy prime minister positions, one for each side of the coalition.
"As a nation, there are more issues that unite than divide us," said Kibaki after the signing. "We've been reminded that we must do all in our power to safeguard the peace that is the foundation of our national unity."
Odinga said after the signing that a new chapter in Kenya's history had been opened, "from the era of confrontation to the beginning of cooperation."