U.S., France urge Guinea to hold polls without further delay

12:00, November 06, 2010      

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The United States and France on Friday urged Guinea to hold its second round of presidential elections as scheduled on Sunday without further delay.

"The continued delay of the electoral process only hurts the people of Guinea, undermines the democratic transition and opens the door for anti-democratic forces," the U.S. and France said in a joint statement. "It also slows down Guinea's prospects for greater economic development and prosperity. This situation must end."

Since the first round polls on June 27 produced no clear winner in the West African state, the run-off contest has been delayed repeatedly due to logistical and security problems. The run-off pits former Prime Minister Cellou Dalein Diallo against opposition leader Alpha Conde.

"We are deeply concerned by reports of ethnic-based violence and unrest over the last two weeks and ask Guinea's security forces to continue to refrain from uses of excessive force," the joint statement said.

Outbursts of ethnic violence have raised fears that Guinea's only chance at free elections since independence from France in 1958 could slip into chaos if the results are challenged.

The West African country has been ruled by the military since December 2008 following a coup d'etat that happened just one day after the death of President Lansana Conte who had ruled for 24 years.

"All Guinea actors, without exception, must place the national interests of Guinea above their own personal, ethnic or political considerations and ban for good ethnic-based provocations or acts of harassment that could incite violence," the U.S. and France said. "Only reconciliation will allow the birth of a new Guinea. It is the duty of both presidential candidates to pave the way for an exemplary and historical ballot."



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