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African Union Not Yet Ready to Lift Guinea Suspension, Says AU Official

  • James Butty

Ramtane Lamamra, commissioner of the AU Peace and Security Council says Guinea will remain suspended until the restoration of constitutional rule

The commissioner of the African Union’s Peace and Security Council says the suspension of Guinea from the continental body would remain in place despite the military junta’s agreement to a transitional government.

Ramtane Lamamra said the African Union would not rush into lifting the suspension because the international community is committed to the restoration of democracy in Guinea through free and fair elections.

“I am afraid Guinea will remain suspended until the restoration of democratic order…one has to be careful not to rush to lifting sanctions because that can be a signal that could be wrongly understood by some quarters, and they would think that the international community would not be particularly demanding on the conditions of free and fair elections,” Lamamra said.

He said the African Union is pleased with the mediation efforts of Burkina Faso President Blaise Campaore.

“We are grateful to President Campaore, his time, his energy, his dedication. This was not an easy mediation and he is now recording a significant success,” Lamamra said.

Lamamra hoped that the agreement reached through the mediation of President Campaore would be a turning point in the management of the Guinea crisis.

The deal, signed last Friday by wounded military leader Captain Moussa Dadis Camara and interim leader General Sekouba Konate in Burkina Faso calls for a unity government and elections within six months.

Lamamra said the African Union welcomes Captain Camara’s decision to stay out of Guinea and not try to reclaim power.

"The development announced in Ouagadougou is certainly a positive one. Obviously Captain Dadis Camara had become an obstacle for the peaceful democratic transition in the country,” he said.

Lamamra recalled that over a year ago Captain Dadis Camara undertook the commitment not to stand for election but then changed his mind which he said led to high tension and eventually the September 2009 killing of pro-democracy demonstrators.

But Lamamra said the African Union and hopefully the people of Guinea are looking forward to implementing the new agreement.

“Within the next six months, the country will be ruled by a new prime minister appointed by the opposition parties and elections will take place at the end of this new transition with the active participation of all the political forces,” he said.

He said the African Union will do everything within its power to make the new agreement a success.

The African Union suspended Guinea after the December 2008 coup that brought Captain Dadis Camara to power.

The AU also imposed sanctions on the military government following the killing of opposition supporters last year at a soccer stadium