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Guinea's New Prime Minister Arrives in Conakry


Guinea's newly appointed Prime Minister Lansana Kouyate has arrived in the capital, Conakry, as the west African nation attempts to return to normal after weeks of political unrest.

Mr. Kouyate was greeted by thousands of cheering supporters Tuesday, after arriving at the city's airport from Ivory Coast. He said it is time for Guineans to roll up their sleeves and give the country a chance to move forward.

Guinea's President Lansana Conte appointed the new prime minister in a deal to end a general strike led by labor unions that oppose the president.

The strike led to clashes between police and protesters in which more than 100 people were killed.

Reports from Guinea's capital today say the streets were bustling with traffic as people returned to work.

Kouyate is a former U.N. diplomat who has worked for several international organizations. His last position was in Ivory Coast as an envoy for the International Organization of Francophone Countries.

A Human Rights Watch analyst, Dustin Sharp, says Kouyate's appointment is a tribute to the efforts of Guinea's civil society.

Unions had rejected Mr. Conte's previous choice for prime minister, Eugene Camara, who they said was too close to the president.

Unions initially called the strike in January to protest economic hardship and alleged corruption in President Conte's government.

President Conte has ruled Guinea since taking power in a 1984 coup. Critics say the president, a chain-smoker who suffers from diabetes, is no longer fit to rule the West African nation.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

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