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". − Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, it goes without saying that the European Commission is deeply concerned at the serious crisis Kenya is experiencing. Furthermore, the day after the elections, when we saw the warning signs of the chaos following what happened particularly during the counting of votes, we mobilised and established contacts with the authorities on both sides – the outgoing majority and the opposition. I should also tell you regarding this that I had no trouble getting in direct, personal contact with Mr Odinga. On the other hand, since then and despite repeated attempts, I have never been able to make direct, personal contact with Mr Kibaki, which is surprising considering how easy it was to contact him in the past. This is fairly indicative of the unease that reigned. The post-election violence, which has caused the deaths of more than 600 people and the displacement of more than 250 000, has obviously highlighted the frustration and anger felt by the Kenyan people about the profound problems of socioeconomic inequality and corruption undermining Kenyan society, with the risk of confrontation on ethnic lines. But these elections have also highlighted the democratic aspirations of the Kenyan people. These aspirations have been flouted by the irregularities that occurred on election day, which cast serious doubt on the validity of the official results. We fully share the conclusions and declarations of the European Union's election observation mission, led by your fellow Member Alexander Lambsdorff, whom I would really like to congratulate for the excellent work he did, to the point that the international authorities outside the EU, which started off in a slightly less categorical position, in some ways a slightly less objective position, ended up supporting Mr Lambsdorff’s observations and conclusions and endorsing them. The Commission’s position with respect to the political situation in Kenya could not be clearer. Kenya’s political leaders urgently need to size up their responsibilities and immediately and seriously commit themselves to finding a political settlement. Without such a commitment, the European Union will undoubtedly have no other option than to review its relations with Kenya, which until now, it has to be said, have been excellent. Kenya is a country that was felt to be on the right track in terms of governance, human rights and democracy, and it was also playing an important role in regional stability. We need to remember these things. Seeking a political settlement is therefore the responsibility first and foremost of the Kenyan leaders. It requires an immediate halt to provocation and violence in the streets, but also in the media and in public posturing. It is crucial for President Mwai Kibaki, and the opposition leader Raila Odinga, to agree to compromise by recognising that the election result is not correctly reflected in the exercise of power and responsibility, and that there must inevitably be power sharing to avoid the continuation of the political crisis. This power sharing could be an interim solution until, for example, new elections could be held. Finally, it is important for the Kenyan political class to recognise the pressing need to solve the basic problems at the root of this outburst of violence, whether they are the constitutional organisation of power, the political governance of the country, or the serious discrimination and socioeconomic inequalities. The Commission and the European Union as a whole fully support the African mediation launched by President Kufuor and continued by Kofi Annan, thanks to Graça Machel and Benjamin Mkapa. They call upon President Kibaki and Raila Odinga to cooperate fully with the aim of finding a political settlement. I spoke at length with Desmond Tutu at the start of the crisis, during his mediation mission. I also had a very long discussion with Kofi Annan, who indicated that the most appropriate thing would be for African mediation to accompany a process of rapprochement. I have promised the Commission's support for this mediation, whether politically or financially. Whatever the case, we should be pleased that the speaker of the Kenyan parliament was elected properly last night. We should take this as a sign of respect for the constitutional framework, from this point of view at least. However, the next few days will be crucial. We will be monitoring the situation closely and will remain in constant contact with the African mediators. We will adapt our relations with Kenya, including as regards cooperation, to reflect changes in the situation and the actions of both sides. All options are currently on the table. There needs to be European and international dialogue so that what we do has the maximum impact. It seems that the international community is currently on the same wavelength, that there are no longer differences in approach, political tendency, or even strategy. This is important. It was not necessarily the case at the outset, straight after the elections. I think this is something we have now achieved, and it is a good thing. As for the humanitarian situation, the Commission has reacted very quickly. Following the assessments by experts from ECHO and our partners in the field, the Commission has released initial emergency aid of 5.5 million euros to cope with the needs of displaced people for water, food, shelter and healthcare."@en1

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