Rival political parties in Kenya locked in a deadly dispute over December's elections said Friday they had agreed to take immediate action to end the violence that has ravaged the country.


UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, left, shakes hands with opposition leader Raila Odinga at a Nairobi hotel on Friday. ((Bernat Armangue/Associated Press))

Former UN secretary general Kofi Annan said the two sides signed a four-point agenda committing to completing talks within 15 days on measures to end the political crisis.

Annan, who said the agenda covers short-term and long-term issues, made the announcement after mediating talks with representatives of President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga.

Annan made the announcement following UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's arrival in Kenya's capital of Nairobi on Friday where he met with Odinga in the hopes of bolstering negotiations between the rival political parties.

Ban met with Odinga a day after holding talks with President Mwai Kibaki at an African summit in Ethiopia, during which the UN chief said both leaders had a "special responsibility" to resolve the conflict peacefully.

At the same time Ban visited, Kenyan police killed four people as mobs set scores of houses and businesses ablaze in a western Kenyan town, a police official said.

Clashes in the Rift Valley were sparked after a police officer killed an opposition politician.

At least three other people were killed in rioting following the shooting of David Kimutai Too on Thursday, adding to the toll of a month-long post-election crisis that has killed at least 850 people and forced 300,000 from their homes.

Teams of negotiators for the feuding parties postponed talks led by former UN secretary general Kofi Annan on Thursday, hours after Too, a member of opposition leader Raila Odinga's Orange Democratic Movement, was killed as he travelled by car from Nairobi to the western city of Eldoret.

Police report dismissed

Police said Too's killing in the Rift Valley city of Eldoret was a crime of passion: He was shot by a traffic police officer who discovered the politician was having an affair with his girlfriend, also a police officer. A woman shot in the same attack also died.

But opposition supporters have dismissed the police report and insist Too was assassinated to reduce the number of Odinga's party members in parliament.

The fighting in Kenya began after Kibaki's Dec. 27 re-election, which Odinga and his supporters say was rigged. International and local election observers have said there were significant problems with the vote.

Kibaki has rejected Odinga's calls to step down and hold a new vote. Still in Ethiopia Friday, he insisted "the security situation in the country is under control."

The violence has featured battles between armed police and protesters in the western opposition heartland and in Nairobi's slums, as well as politically motivated clashes between rival ethnic groups.

With files from the Associated PRess