West Africa Bloc Says First Meeting With Guinea Junta ‘Positive’
(Bloomberg) -- A West African delegation says its first meeting with the Guinean junta that toppled the country’s longtime leader was “positive.”
A team from the Economic Community of West African States also “had the opportunity to meet former President Alpha Conde,” Jean-Claude Brou, who heads the Ecowas Commission, told reporters in the Guinean capital, Conakry Friday.
Ecowas’ initial statement is set to deescalate tensions after the 15-nation bloc initially threatened sanctions against Guinea over the military takeover. Guinea, which is the world’s biggest exporter of bauxite, has since been suspended from the bloc. Brou declined to give more details about the meetings, saying the delegation still needed to give a report to Ecowas heads of state.
The official’s reference to Conde as the country’s “former” leader however signals that Guinea’s neighbors will not push to have the toppled leader reinstated. Conde was taken from the presidential palace Sunday by members of an elite army unit who then took over the state television to announce they were now in charge.
The 83-year-old ousted leader, who remains in detention, hasn’t yet announced his resignation. He’d won a controversial third mandate on Oct. 4 even though the country’s constitution limits the presidency to two terms.
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