Two key Kenyan presidential hopefuls, both charged with crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court ICC, are in negotiations for an alliance ahead of a presidential election in March 2013.

Talks between Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and ex-minister William Ruto are "going on", said Kenyatta's director of communications Munyori Buku, backtracking on an earlier statement that a formal deal had been struck.

He withdrew an earlier statement claiming the two politicians had already "agreed on an alliance whose goals will be national unity, prosperity for all Kenyans [and] reconciliation".

Details of any deal will be unveiled at a rally on Sunday, he added. Ruto has made no comment.

Crimes against humanity

The March polls are the first since deadly post-election violence in 2007-2008, in which Kenyatta and Ruto were rivals.

Kenyatta faces five charges of crimes against humanity, including murder, rape, persecution, deportation and other inhumane acts.

Ruto faces three charges of crimes against humanity.

Both have claimed their innocence, remain free and have promised to co-operate with The Hague-based court.

Their trial, set to begin on April 10, could coincide with the elections, set for March 4, but which are potentially expected to enter a second round vote within a month.

Both are also waiting for a court hearing due on Thursday on their eligibility to run in the elections.

Source: Agencies