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    Guinea PM Acknowledges Camara as Country's New Leader

    Guinea's prime minister has acknowledged the leader of this week's coup, Moussa Camara, as the new head of the country.

    Prime Minister Ahmed Tidiane Souare and about 30 other government officials turned themselves in at an army barracks outside Conakry Thursday, after Camara announced they had 24 hours to surrender or be hunted down.

    Reports from the scene say Mr. Souare told Camara, "We are at your complete disposal."

    The prime minister had been in hiding since Tuesday, when Camara and fellow military officers announced their coup following the death of Guinea's longtime President Lansana Conte.

    In remarks to reporters late Wednesday, Camara declared himself the new president.  He has promised elections by the end of 2010, but says he has no plans to run in the poll.

    French President Nicolas Sarkozy Thursday called for free and transparent elections to be organized soon.  

    Witnesses say life was returning to normal in the Guinean capital Thursday , with businesses reopening and people and traffic returning to the streets.  A curfew announced Wednesday has been postponed until Friday, after the Christmas holiday.

    That is the day the military junta plans to hold a funeral for President Conte at the main stadium and Grand Mosque.

    Despite the general calm in Guinea, the coup has drawn strong criticism abroad.  The United States has said it may cut off aid to the West African country if civilian, democratic and constitutional rule is not restored.  

    The African Union Peace and Security Council also condemned the coup during an emergency meeting in Ethiopia Wednesday.  

     

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

     

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