West African bloc seen suspending Guinea after coup

The military junta which seized power on Dec. 23 has tried to reassure nervous neighbours that it poses no threat.

West African bloc seen suspending Guinea after coup

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has no option but to suspend Guinea when regional leaders meet on Friday to discuss last month's coup, Nigeria's foreign minister said on Tuesday.

The military junta which seized power on Dec. 23 has tried to reassure nervous neighbours that it poses no threat.

It has sent representatives to Mali, Guinea-Bissau and Sierra Leone to explain the takeover, which followed the death of long-ruling President Lansana Conte.

But Nigerian Foreign Minister Ojo Maduekwe said ECOWAS, which is due to meet in extraordinary session in the Nigerian capital Abuja on Friday, had to follow the African Union, which has suspended Guinea.

"Africa has come a long way. It is no longer an issue whether regimes should be democratic or not," he told Reuters.

"It is not as if the African Union or ECOWAS need to re-invent the wheel -- once you come into power outside the constitutional position of your country, your country is suspended. Suspension follows automatically," he said.

Nigerian President Umaru Yar'Adua is the chairman of ECOWAS.

The coup in Guinea has been criticised by the international community, particularly major donors including the United States and European Union, who have called for a return to constitutional rule.

But at home the junta -- which has appointed a civilian transition government, promised elections and pledged to stamp out corruption -- has been welcomed by citizens as a break from Conte's corrupt and nepotistic administration.

Some countries in the region have indicated they are ready to work with the junta.

Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi briefly visited Guinea on Saturday while Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade has publicly praised coup leader Captain Moussa Dadis Camara and his National Council for Democracy and Development (CNDD) junta.

Reuters
Last Mod: 07 Ocak 2009, 15:03
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