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Kenya’s ruling party and opposition could be just days away from a final political settlement to end post-election bloodshed, officials say.

Ex-UN Secretary General Kofi Annan told reporters in Nairobi an agreement could be reached next week but that earlier reports of a deal had been premature. The BBC’s Karen Allen in Nairobi says it is a significant development which could pave the way to power-sharing.

Some 1,000 people have died in clashes since the 27 December elections. With the political crisis apparently easing, Kenya’s internal security minister on Friday lifted the ban on public rallies that had been imposed after the violence broke out. “Security has generally improved,” said George Saitoti, explaining his decision, but he urged those holding rallies not to use them as “avenues to incite violence”.

The decision followed Friday’s second face-to-face talks between President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga – only the second time they have met since the disputed elections. On the talks, Mr Annan said: “We are all agreed that a political settlement is needed, that a political settlement is necessary and we are working out the details of such a settlement.” President Kibaki’s side said there had been an “agreement in principle”, while the opposition spoke of a “positive development”.

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