A new round of talks to end Kenya's political crisis started on Tuesday with no clear sign of an agreement on power-sharing and the opposition threatening to resume nationwide protests.

The talks being mediated by former U.N. chief Kofi Annan had come to a standstill on Monday with both sides saying President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga needed to step in to break the deadlock.

Both leaders have come under international and domestic pressure to compromise over Kibaki's disputed re-election in a December 27 vote, an event that sparked ethnic violence in which 1,000 people were killed and 300,000 forced to flee their homes.

Annan met Kibaki and Odinga separately on Monday night but negotiators could not say whether the two leaders were any closer to a deal.

I think there is some agreement on some (issues) and not on others but we are still talking, Kenyan Foreign Minister Moses Wetangula said after the two sides broke for lunch.

Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete was due to arrive on Wednesday in his capacity as African Union chairman to talk with Odinga, Annan and Kibaki.

Mediator Annan, the former U.N. secretary-general, is ready to leave Kenya if there is no progress, according to a source close to the talks.

The opposition has said it will stage nationwide protests on Thursday if there is no deal. Police had no comment on whether they would permit the demonstrations.

Earlier protests descended into riots and looting that were met with a deadly police response, while simultaneous rounds of ethnic killings and revenge attacks took place in different parts of the east African country.

The bloodshed damaged Kenya's reputation as a prosperous trade and tourism hub and a haven of stability in a region riven by violence.


Against this background of violence, the government has agreed in principle to create a prime minister's seat demanded by the opposition.

But the parties are split on the premier's powers, sharing of ministries and the possibility of a new election if the coalition collapses.

Police on Monday arrested at least 200 youths said to be undergoing military training at a farm owned by a former legislator, near the clash-hit Mt. Elgon area, local media reported.

The men, found in military uniforms, said they were from areas of western Kenya hit by post-election violence and were being trained to protect their people, the Standard newspaper reported. A police spokesman gave no immediate comment.

A Kenyan non-governmental organization gave a partial breakdown of the post-election death toll in a statement published in newspapers on Tuesday, urging that the peace talks should not immunize any perpetrator from criminal liability.

Because many bodies have been buried ... or disposed of in unconventional ways, it can be assumed that the number of deaths arising from the post-election violence is higher than the estimated 1,000, the Independent Medico-Legal Unit said.

It said that out of 80 post-mortems it conducted on victims, 43 percent had died from gunshots and 57 percent from injuries inflicted by crude weapons.