Federal Foreign Minister Dr Frank-Walter Steinmeier expressed his relief at the progress made in the mediation efforts led by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in Kenya. Mr Annan announced Friday afternoon (15 February) that the parties in Kenya had agreed on initial steps, whereupon Federal Minister Steinmeier issued the following statement in Berlin:
"I congratulate Kofi Annan on the first staging post he has reached in the difficult negotiations. This shows that the plan for peace he drew up has created a negotiation process which can lead to an agreed solution. I call upon all parties to seek consensus and dialogue. This is the only way of reaching quick and lasting agreement above all on the distribution of power. Now that initial steps have been settled, it is a matter of making concrete and binding commitments. I am delighted that Germany has also been able to do its bit. I would like to thank Minister of State at the Federal Foreign Office Gernot Erler who at my request lent active support to the negotiations in recent days."
Since violence broke out in Kenya, Federal Minister Steinmeier has had several telephone calls with Kofi Annan. At the latter's request, Steinmeier sent Minister of State Erler to Nairobi last weekend to pass on German expertise on the technicalities of forming a coalition to the parties on the ground, thereby helping bring about a rapid solution to the ongoing domestic-policy crisis in Kenya.