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Kenyan rivals agree to share power

Kofi Annan's persistence yields a power-sharing deal between Kenya's President Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga.

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Agreement: Kenya's President Kibaki (l.) signed a unity deal with opposition leader Raila Odinga.

Antony Njuguna/Reuters

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After weeks of rancorous negotiations to resolve a postelection conflict that killed nearly 1,500 people, Kenya's two rival parties signed an agreement on power-sharing Thursday.

Under the agreement, President Mwai Kibaki will retain the position of president, although international observers and Kenya's own election commission have declared his election deeply flawed. Opposition leader Raila Odinga will become prime minister, although his powers are decidedly ceremonial.

The pact does not address such key issues as a new Con-stitution, land redistribution, and human rights violations. But with it, Kenya appears to be turning the corner toward a tentative peace. Now begins the work of making politicians set aside rivalries and greed to form a unity government and to urge ethnic communities that have massacred each other to make amends.

"We believe by these steps we come together in the spirit of partnership to bring peace and prosperity to the people of Kenya who so richly deserve it," said a visibly relieved Kofi Annan, the former UN secretary-general, who led the four-week-long mediation effort in Nairobi.

He urged hard-liners on both sides to accept the agreement. "To those people in Kenya I would say this: Compromise was necessary for the survival of this country. Support this agreement for it is the key to unity of Kenya."

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