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Guinea Politicians Denounce Military's Suspension of Regional Mediation

Scott Stearns | Conakry 10 December 2009

Guinea says it will not take part in those talks until the return to power of its military ruler who is recovering from last week's attack by members of the presidential guard.

Regional efforts to mediate an end to Guinea's political crisis are at a standstill with the military government's decision to pull out of talks sponsored by the Economic Community of West African States.

ECOWAS mediator Burkinabe President Blaise Compaore has proposed a power-sharing deal between the military and its political opponents leading to elections next year. While the first draft of that deal was rejected by political parties and civil society groups, talks were continuing to return Guinea to civilian rule.

Opposition politician Bah Oury says quitting those talks shows the military's disregard for ECOWAS, the African Union, and the International Contact Group on Guinea.

Oury says the military's decision to suspend talks in Ouagadougou represents its complete rupture with the international community and the Guinean people because that process was meant to remove the military government from power. Oury says the suspension of those talks puts Guinea in an extremely serious situation as it tries to find a way out of the crisis.

Announcing its decision to pull out of regional mediation efforts, the military said it knows that it is through these negotiations the nation is going to find a solution. But the ruling military council's permanent secretary Colonel Moussa Keita said for the moment, the government is preoccupied with the health of military ruler Captain Moussa Dadis Camara.

Captain Camara is recovering in a military hospital in Morocco after being shot by members of the presidential guard last Thursday. He has had surgery for head trauma. Moroccan doctors say his conditions is "not serious" though it is unknown when he will return to Guinea.

Security forces continue to search for former aide-de-camp Lieutenant Aboubacar Sidiki Diakite whose men shot Captain Camara at a military camp in downtown Conakry.

In an interview on national television, ruling council spokesman Keita said Diakite colluded with political leaders in the attack on Captain Camara. He said those politicians promised to give Diakite amnesty for his role in the September 28th killing of opposition demonstrators.

Witnesses say Diakite ordered troops to open fire on people protesting Captain Camara's expected presidential candidacy. Local human rights groups say dozens of women were raped and at least 157 people were killed. T he military says 57 people died.

Defense Minister Sekouba Konate is leading Guinea in Captain Camara's absence. On a visit to an army camp in the capital, General Konate called for military discipline, saying the attack on Captain Camara is a disgrace for the nation and for the army.

ECOWAS says Guinea's military is responsible for the country's worsening security situation. It says indiscipline and infighting within the fractured army are holding back efforts to establish the rule of law.

The regional alliance wants Guinea's military government to immediately put in place a new transitional authority leading to credible elections in early 2010 that do not include any members of the ruling council or its prime minister.

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