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Guinea: Ban welcomes steps to restore constitutional order

19 January 2010 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has welcomed recent strides made towards restoring constitutional order in Guinea, which has been gripped by unrest since Government forces opened fire on unarmed protesters at a rally last year, killing at least 150 people.

He commended President Blaise Compaoré of nearby Burkina Faso and others who facilitated the signing of last week’s Ouagadougou agreement, which provides for the establishment of a Government of national unity, led by a consensus Prime Minister, and the holding of elections within six months.

The new agreement is also supported by the UN-backed International Contact Group on Guinea, including Said Djinnit, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for West Africa, which met with top Guinean officials over the weekend in the capital of Burkina Faso.

On 29 September, Guinea’s armed forces shot and killed or raped and attacked hundreds of civilian demonstrators attending a rally in the capital, Conakry.

The deadly crackdown sparked international outrage and prompted Mr. Ban to set up the International Commission of Inquiry to investigate the events of the day. Mr. Ban has since handed the report of the three-member panel and their recommendations to the Security Council, the Guinean Government, the African Union (AU) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

Captain Dadis Camara – who seized power in a coup in 2008 following the death of long-time president Lansana Conté – has also survived an assassination attempt in the interim and is currently in exile.

In a statement issued by his spokesperson last night, Mr. Ban welcomed Mr. Camara’s decision to support the transitional programme initiated by General Sekouba Konaté, the interim head of State, as well as the commitment by him and others to not stand in the upcoming polls.

“It is important that these commitments are now faithfully carried out to ensure a democratic process and the establishment of a government that fully reflects the will of the Guinean people,” the Secretary-General stressed.

He also reminded the Guinean Government to implement the recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry into the 29 September shootings in Conakry.

“The Secretary General calls on Guinea’s regional and international partners to provide the necessary support to help the country through the transition and urges all Guinean political stakeholders to work together to resolve the current crisis,” the statement said, adding that the UN stands ready to assist with elections.

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