Mediator Kofi Annan suspended on Tuesday the talks to end Kenya’s deadly postelection crisis after weeks of negotiations brought little progress.
Annan, the former U.N. secretary general, said he will now meet with President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga to try to spur progress.
“I hope people will understand this is a move intended to speed up action,” Annan said in announcing that he was calling off the talks.
The negotiations have failed to resolve the dispute Kibaki and Odinga, who says the Dec. 27 presidential election was a sham. Kibaki was declared the winner but international and local monitors say the results were manipulated, making it unclear who would have won.
Kenya was once a beacon of stability in a tumultuous region but the contentious vote sparked widespread fighting as both sides claimed victory. Violence has largely subsided in recent weeks, but attacks that left more 1,000 dead and forced 600,000 from their homes have left the country on edge and worried about the potential for more unrest.
Kibaki was declared the winner of the presidential vote, giving him a second five-year term, after Odinga’s lead in polls evaporated overnight.
Rice: 'No excuse for any further delay'
Earlier, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice issued a statement saying there is "no excuse for any further delay."
"There can also be no excuse for violence, and those responsible must be held accountable," she said.
Rice also issued a veiled threat, saying the U.S. relationship with any future Kenyan political leadership is at stake. "I want to emphasize that the future of our relationship with both sides and their legitimacy hinges on their cooperation to achieve this political solution," Rice said.
Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete, the current head of the African Union, was scheduled to arrive in the Kenyan capital later Tuesday. Kikwete is visiting to "give support to the mediation process," said his spokesman Premy Kibanga. It was unclear whether the suspension of negotiations would impact Kikwete's visit.
Odinga's Orange Democratic Movement, meanwhile, filed notice Monday giving police the required three days' notice for a gathering planned Thursday.
Police spokesman Eric Kiraithe said police had not yet decided whether to allow the demonstration.
"We are evaluating the proposal on its on merit," he said. "Each application is evaluated according to its merits and demerits... We are yet to decide."
The party had already threatened mass protests if a deal is not reached by Wednesday, and Monday's filing was a clear sign its leaders believe the talks could falter.
Much of the postelection violence has been ethnic, between supporters of Kibaki — a Kikuyu — and western groups who rally to opposition leader Odinga — a Luo.
Throughout the talks, low-level unrest has continued. Over the weekend, police said eight houses were burning in a western village in an ethnically motivated attack.
On Monday, police in the western town of Kitale arrested more than 200 youths accused of training to form a militia to protect ethnic groups seen as backing Kibaki in the opposition-dominated west.