Camara’s absence from Guinea welcomed by world leaders

Some see Capt Camara's absence as the best hope for Guinea

World leaders have welcomed Guinea’s announcement that wounded junta head Capt Moussa Dadis Camara will not return to Guinea for several months.

The African Union praised the decision as a “positive development in the situation in Guinea”.

Meanwhile, France called it a “decisive stage” in ending the political crisis.

Capt Camara, who is convalescing in Burkina Faso, has agreed to let his deputy lead the country while he recovers from an assassination attempt.

“Guinea has marked a decisive stage in getting out of the crisis it has been in for a year and [is] on the way to a state of law and justice,” French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said in a statement.

“France will resolutely back the application of this declaration and, in this framework, can soon resume its co-operation.”

Mr Kouchner pledged to “attempt to mobilise Guinea’s partners so that they can accompany the process toward elections”.

In a statement on Friday, the military junta said Capt Camara would support the transition to civilian rule.

Earlier, interim leader Sekouba Konate had threatened to resign in a row with supporters of Capt Camara. He had opened talks with the opposition while Capt Camara was in hospital.

Friday’s announcement followed talks with Burkina Faso’s president, who is mediating in negotiations to resolve the country’s crisis.

The declaration said Capt Camara was “willingly taking a period of convalescence”.

According to News Agency, the junta leaders have also agreed to form a unity government followed by polls in six months.

Capt Camara had been receiving treatment in Morocco following an assassination attempt by his former aide-de-camp on 3 December.

When he left hospital on Tuesday, he reportedly thought he was going to Conakry, only to find himself in Burkina Faso.

Both the international community and the Guinean opposition see Capt Camara’s absence as the best hope for an orderly transition to civilian, democratic rule.

Earlier on Friday, Capt Camara’s staunchest supporters were pressing for him to return to Conakry.

But, our correspondent said, this seemed to push Gen Konate to threaten to resign and accuse Capt Camara’s allies of wanting to start a war in Guinea.

Capt Camara seized power in a coup in December 2008 after the death of long-time ruler Lansana Conte.

At first he promised a return to civilian rule, but soon dropped hints that he would stand for president himself.

That led to a pro-democracy rally on 28 September in the capital, Conakry, at which rights groups say more than 150 people were killed when the military opened fire.

A recent UN report on the stadium massacre said Capt Camara should face trial at the International Criminal Court over the brutal suppression.

Gen Konate has offered the post of prime minister to the opposition.



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