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Russia hails Kenya power-sharing agreement

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MOSCOW, February 29 (RIA Novosti) - Russia welcomes a power-sharing agreement between Kenya's leaders, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Friday.

"On February 28, Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki and the leader of the opposition Orange Democratic Movement, Raila Odinga, signed an agreement on the principles of setting up a coalition government," the ministry said.

"Russia perceived with satisfaction this decision, opening a way to settle a more than two-month-long political crisis," it said, adding that the deal had become possible thanks to active work by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.

More than 1,000 people have been killed and around 300,000 forced from their homes in Kenya since violence broke out after the disputed December 27 presidential election, in which Mwai Kibaki was reelected.

The opposition refused to recognize Kibaki's victory in the election, which both international and local observers said was rigged. The fighting escalated into an ethnic conflict, with public anger focusing on the ruling Kikuyu tribe.

On February 5, Annan chaired peace talks between the government and the opposition.

Earlier this month, the rival factions drafted a plan of joint action to solve the crisis.

As possible resolutions to the conflict, Annan suggested a power-sharing deal between the parties, the creation of an interim government before a new presidential vote, and the verification of the disputed election results.

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