Contact group proposes security force deployment in Guinea

17:01, December 14, 2009      

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The ninth meeting of the international contact group on Guinea, which was opened in Ouagadougou on Sunday, recommended the deployment of an international security force in the West African country to protect its civilian population.

The first of its kind since the attempted assassination of the military junta head Moussa Dadis Camara, this high-level meeting comprised diplomats from the Western countries, representatives of the African Union, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), members of the opposition pressure groups, members of the ruling National Council for Democracy and Development (CNDD) and a delegation from the United States.

It was the president of the ECOWAS Commission, Dr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas, who recommended the sending of an intervention force to Guinea not only to protect the civilian population, but to stop the possibility of the whole region being destabilized because of a prolonged conflict.

Chambas asked the CNDD to respect their commitment to give up power and not to contest for the next presidential elections. He said those who organized the Sept. 28 killings in the capital Conakry should be charged before international courts.

According to the international contact group on Guinea, the situation has become worse after the attempted assassination of the junta leader Dadis Camara.

An official of Guinea's Workers Confederation, Radiatou Ba, described the current situation as never been seen before in the country.

For the pressure groups, the meeting presented a new hope of ending the crisis. In the words of an opposition leader Sydia Toure, "We hope that this will be an occasion of solving all the problems once and for all so that we can get the country out of the crisis."

Moussa Keita, the head of the CNDD delegation, said, "It will be premature to comment; in any case, the discussions will continue and at an opportune time, the media will be given a briefing on the situation."

On the agenda of the gathering, which did not last a full day, was an expected meeting of Burkina Faso's President Blaise Compaore, the facilitator in the Guinea crisis, with each of the political groups and a press briefing.

Guinea's situation is complicated with military the junta leader shot and wounded early in the month by his aide de camp, Aboubakar Toumba Diakite, who refused to answer questions before the UN investigators on the Sept. 28 crackdown.

The junta's No. 2, Defense Minister Sekouba Konate, temporarily takes over the leadership while Camara is away hospitalized in the Mohammad V Military Hospital in Rabat, Morocco.

While the opposition sees an opportunity of making a breakthrough in the talks with the military junta, which under Camara rejected the departure from power as being demanded by the pressure groups, others fear the spill-over of the conflicts even into neighboring countries to jeopardize the whole West African region.

Konate is seen as not directly involved in the Sept. 28 bloodshed in which the local human rights organization says up to 157 people were killed. The international contact group is apparently working on all sides to seek the best possible results while avoiding the worst under the circumstances different from under Camara, who was wounded in the head and has since been lying under medical care without a sign of returning any time soon.

The military led by Camara took power in December 2008 after the death of then president Lansana Conte, who also launched a coup d'etat following the death of Sekou Toure in 1984.

Guinea is under international and regional sanctions for its return to democracy and the constitutional order.

Source: Xinhua
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