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U.S. calls for democratic transition in Guinea
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08:48, December 24, 2008

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The United States called on Tuesday for a peaceful and democratic transition in Guinea, whose military leaders have attempted to take power by launching a coup following the death of long-term President Lansana Conte.

"We are working with our partners in the region and other countries in the region and the African Union to encourage the institutions in Guinea to take all steps to ensure a peaceful and democratic transition," said White House spokesman Tony Fratto at the daily press briefing.

"We stand with the people of Guinea who certainly strive for peace and a democratic transition and an opportunity to get to a next government in the best way," the spokesman said.

Earlier in the day, a group of men in military uniform appeared at state radio and TV broadcasting stations, making the announcement of the suspension of the constitution and the government.

"From today on, the constitution is suspended, and so are all political and group activities ...the government and republican institutions are dissolved," said Capt. Moussa Camara, spokesman for a self-claimed National Council for Democracy.

Guinean Prime Minister Ahmed Tidiane Souare, however, told media that he was still in charge and the government has been trying to "settle this question of national importance."

Hours ahead of the coup attempt, Guinea's second president Conte died in the capital of Conakry. Conte ruled Guinea since a 1984 coup that followed the death of post-independence leader Ahmed Sekou Toure. He won elections in 1983, 1998 and 2003.

His death was announced by National Assembly President Aboubacar Sompare, who is to temporarily take over state affairs under the constitution while organizing a presidential election within 60 days. The Guniean government announced a national mourning of 40 days.


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