Guinea’s Neighbors to Meet on Coup, Demand Leader’s Release
(Bloomberg) -- West African leaders will hold a virtual summit Wednesday to discuss the coup in Guinea, according to people familiar with the matter.
The Economic Community of West African States has already threatened to impose sanctions on Guinea after an elite army unit overthrew President Alpha Conde less than a year after he secured a controversial third term in office.
Sunday’s coup follows an Aug. 18 putsch in neighboring Mali, which Ecowas continues to mediate. The 15-nation regional bloc temporarily blockaded Mali to mount pressure on the junta to cede power within 18 months and install a civilian to lead the transitional government. The Malian junta then carried out a second coup in May, having grown displeased with the civilians to whom they’d ceded some of their power.
The regional leaders are expected to push for the liberation of 83-year-old Conde, who remains in captivity after refusing to resign, and discuss possible sanctions that may not be immediately imposed, said the people who could not speak officially on the matter. Calls to an Ecowas spokesperson didn’t connect Tuesday.
Guinea’s special forces over the weekend stormed the presidential palace and arrested Conde, who’d won a third mandate last year despite Guinea’s two-term limit. The coup plotters were quick to say they would honor agreements with miners, including United Co. Rusal and Rio Tinto Plc, who operate in Guinea, the world’s biggest exporter of bauxite and home to the largest untapped deposit of iron ore.
Conde became the country’s first democratically elected head of state in 2010. The longtime opposition leader’s rise to power was seen putting an end to decades of authoritarian rule. Guinea’s first two presidents, Sekou Toure and Lansana Conte, died in office after clinging to power for 26 and 24 years respectively. At Lansana Conte’s death in 2008, military junta leader Dadis Camara ruled for a year until he was incapacitated by an assassination attempt.
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