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Guinean coup meets with int'l condemnations
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21:34, December 24, 2008

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The military coup attempt in Guinea has met with international condemnations, with mutineers reported in talks for a way out of the crisis.

The pressure is gaining momentum as more and more countries and international organizations are voicing opposition to the coup.

The regional group of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), of which Guinea is a member, condemned the coup by a group of soldiers led by an army captain.

The ECOWAS was "shocked," said spokesperson for the bloc Adrienne Diop on Tuesday.

The 15-member group will never tolerate any illegal seizure of power, she said, vowing to work with the Guinean government to restore the constitutional order in the country.

Hours after the death of Guinean President Lansana Conte was announced on Tuesday by the Guinean government, a self-claimed National Council for Democracy and Development led by Capt. MoussaCamara said on radio that it had dissolved the government and the constitution.

Guinean Prime Minister Ahmed Tidjane Souare told Radio France Internationale, however, that the government had not been dissolved and that he was still in office, "working on the organization of the funeral."

The army is reportedly divided with loyalists and putschists talking over a possible deal to end the turmoil.

The African Union (AU) also condemned the coup.

"This seizure of power constitutes a flagrant violation of the Guinean Constitution, " AU Commission Chairperson Jean Ping said in a statement. "It constitutes also a violation of the Lome Declaration of July 2000, the Constitutive Act of the AU and the African Charter on Democracy, Election and Governance," he added.

The chairperson urged Guineans "to work within the framework of legality, in a spirit of consensus and in the higher interests of Guinea, in order to ensure a smooth transition."

UN Secretary-general Ban Ki-moon "calls for calmness and urges the armed forces and all stakeholders to respect the democratic process," his spokesperson said in a statement on Tuesday.

"At this time of transition in Guinea, the secretary-general stresses the need for a peaceful and democratic transfer of power in accordance with the constitution," the statement said.

The United States called for a peaceful and democratic transition in Guinea.

"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.

The European Union condemned the coup attempt by renegade soldiers.

"We call on all politicians and all civil and military institutions, in the interest of the people and country of Guinea, to respect constitutional rules in order to ensure a peaceful transition with a view to quickly holding free and transparent elections." EU spokesman Eric Chevallier said.

Conte died at the age of 74 at 6:45 p.m. local time (1845 GMT) on Monday in a hospital in Conakry after a long illness. He came to power in 1984 and was elected president in 1993. He won re-elections in 1998 and 2003.

Guinea won independence from France in 1958. It borders Guinea-Bissau, Senegal and Mali in the north, Cote d'Ivoire in the east, Sierra Leone and Liberia in the south and the Atlantic Ocean in the west.

With an area of 245,857 square km, the country of 9.56 million population is known for its rich mineral deposits, especially bauxite which accounts for half of the world's total reserves. The country, however, remained one of the poorest in the world.

Source: Xinhua

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