Guinean army mulls transition deal

General Sekouba Konate, Guinea’s interim military leader, has invited the opposition to select the country’s next prime minister ahead of the formation of a transition government.

In a speech to members of the military junta on Wednesday, Konate said Guinea’s leadership “must act to bring peace” to the country.

“The decision of a prime minister belonging to the opposition and designated by it is ours,” said Konate in his address which was broadcast by national radio.

He said the new prime minister would lead talks with all social  and political groups to form a broad-based government of national union.

Konate, who is also defence minister, has led the west African country since junta leader Moussa Dadis Camara was wounded in an assassination attempt on December 3. The army seized power in a bloodless coup in December 2008.

Leadership talks

Top US and French diplomats held talks in Morocco on Tuesday with Konate about the need to restore civilian rule in Conakry.

Officials in Washington believe Konate may be more supportive for Guinea’s return to civilian rule and democracy than Camara, who is being treated in a Rabat hospital for his month-old wounds sustained when his aide de camp shot him in the head.

Konate gave no date for the appointment of a prime minister but said it was up to all parties concerned to reflect on the make-up of the new government without further delay.

“The country cannot continue to wait and suffer further,” he said. “The international community is urging us to speed up the process and expects significant progress.”

Konate spoke a day after returning to Conakry from a week-long stay in Morocco where he met with Camara on December 29.

Injured military leader

A junta source has said Camara did not seem aware of his surroundings when Konate visited him but Guinea’s official media reported earlier that the leader is recovering and will return to Conakry as soon as possible.

Konate also called on opposition leaders who fled the country to return and said he was “guaranteeing the safety of all”.

The main opposition leaders, who were injured in a crackdown by security forces on more than 150 junta opponents in a Conakry stadium in September, fled to Europe and other west African countries.

Konate said presidential and legislative elections would be held at a date set by the new transition government.

The first round of presidential polls had been scheduled for January 31.

[original]

spotted by RS

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