The African Union says Guinea's military rulers will face international
sanctions if they go back on a promise to hold elections within six
African leaders plan to meet in Nigeria Saturday to discuss their
response to the coup.
African Union Commission Chairman Jean
Ping met with coup leaders following last month's funeral for long-time
Guinean president Lansana Conte.
Army Captain Moussa Camara
launched his coup within hours of Conte's death, promising elections in
two years and ultimately forcing civilian leaders to yield power.
says he told Captain Camara that two years is too long. "I told him
that you said two years," he said. "I said we can't accept two years.
And he said, 'Well, I am ready to go for six months if you want,
provided that things go well.'"
In a meeting with reporters in
Addis Ababa Friday, Ping said Captain Camara told him that he would
reinstate Guinea's previous constitutional limit of two, five-year
presidential terms, repealing the seven-year, unlimited terms imposed
by President Conte.
With the promise that none of the coup
leaders would run for office, Ping said he told Captain Camara that the
African Union would help them restore democracy if they kept their word.
told them that we are going to monitor to see if you will respect your
commitment, and we are ready to help you to bring back a constitutional
order," he said. "Otherwise you will face sanctions."
African Union has already suspended Guinea. The United Nations, the
United States, and the European Union have all condemned the coup and
are calling for a quick return to civilian rule.
leaders from the Economic Community of West African States meet in
Nigeria Saturday to discuss their response to Guinea's coup. Nigerian
President Umaru Yar'Adua called the special meeting to consider
sanctions against Captain Camara's ruling council.
But there are divisions within the alliance about how best to address the military take-over.
President Abdoulaye Wade says coup leaders deserve international
support because they are promising to hold free and fair elections. He
says Captain Camara is an honest young man who took power to fill a
Former Nigerian leader Ibrahim Babangida says
the coup was timely and patriotic. Babangida, who took power in his own
coup in 1985, says Guinea was polarized before the military saved the
country. He told Nigerian television that instead of criticizing the
new military leaders, the international community should help them get
the country back on its feet.
Babangida went to Guinea as
President Yar'adua's envoy. When told that Nigeria's foreign affairs
minister said Abuja will not recognize Conakry's military regime,
Babangida told Nigerian television that the minister has no clue about
what is happening on the ground in Guinea.
Secretary Mohamed Ibn Chambas says the regional alliance remains
opposed to military take-overs and will consider sanctions against
Ping says the African Union is determined to impose
coordinated sanctions against Captain Camara's military government if
it does not move quickly toward elections.
"We are trying to harmonize our position with the international community to strengthen our threat," he said.
military leaders have consolidated power by taking charge of the
national treasury, appointing a civilian prime minister, and forcing
the retirement of senior military officers who opposed them. They have
arrested the former armed forces chief of staff and the former chief of