AU Chief Leaves Kenya With No Deal in Sight

NAIROBI, Kenya -- African Union Chairman John Kufuor left Kenya on Thursday without a deal to end a political crisis that has killed 500 people, leaving the president and opposition leader accusing each other of wrecking talks.

Kufuor, Ghana's president, said both sides agreed to work with an African panel headed by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. But President Mwai Kibaki and opposition chief Raila Odinga neither met nor agreed on how to end the crisis.

Controversy over Kibaki's re-election in a Dec. 27 vote triggered bloodletting that displaced 250,000 people, dented the stable reputation of east Africa's biggest economy and disrupted supplies to nearby countries.

Odinga says Kibaki rigged the vote.

Kufuor, Washington's top Africa diplomat Jendayi Frazer and the envoys of France and Britain met Odinga on Thursday as they piled pressure on him and on Kibaki to reach a deal.

Odinga's Orange Democratic Movement distributed the text of an agreement to re-examine the elections and hold fresh polls if needed. But it said Kibaki had refused to sign.

In a sign tensions were still high after two weeks of violence, riot police fired teargas at around 70 pro-opposition women who marched and blocked a road in a Nairobi suburb.

Some women lay down, stripped to their bras and shouted "Shame on you" at police who tapped their batons on their plastic shields, then fired teargas to disperse the women, including one clutching a small baby to her bosom as she fled.

Kufuor put a brave face on his two-day mission.

"The parties agreed to work together with a panel of eminent African personalities headed by Mr Kofi Annan ... towards resolving their differences and all other outstanding issues including constitutional and electoral reforms," he said.