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    Guinea Military Rejects Regional Intervention Force

    Guinea's military government is rejecting the idea of a regional security force to help preserve order in the country.  The military's political opponents say such a force would help bring elections next year.

    Diplomats from the African Union, the United Nations, and the European Union say Guinea needs outside military and civilian observers to help protect civilians and organize new elections.

    Mohamed Ibn Chambas is the secretary general of the Economic Community of West African States.

    Chambas says an "order and security" force would ensure the delivery of humanitarian assistance, restore constitutional legality, defend Guinea's territorial integrity, and play a role in guaranteeing peace and security.

    It is not the first time such a force has been suggested.  And like previous demands, Sunday's statement by the International Contact Group on Guinea has been rejected by the military government that took power in a coup last December.

    Ruling military council spokesman Colonel Moussa Keita says dispatching any foreign force to Guinea without the government's authorization will be considered a declaration of war.

    While continuing to take part in ECOWAS mediation, the ruling council has been increasingly critical of ECOWAS Secretary General Chambas, saying he is trying to undermine the government by saying soldiers should not take part in new elections.

    The International Contact Group repeated that demand, calling for the establishment of a transitional authority to organize legislative and presidential elections.

    Former prime minister and current civil society leader Francois Fall says Guinea needs such an interim authority without delay.

    Fall says the opposition coalition of political parties, trade unions, and civil society groups repeats its call for a new transitional authority of consensus to prepare elections as soon as possible in 2010.

    Fall says an international military and civilian observer mission would restore a climate of security for the Guinea people and protect the transitional authority.

    Military ruler Captain Moussa Dadis Camara has promised to hold new elections next year . But fears that he will be a candidate in that vote led to an opposition demonstration September 28 in which local human-rights groups say the army killed at least 157 protesters.

    Captain Camara was shot by members of the presidential guard 11 days ago.  He is recovering in a Moroccan military hospital, but there has been little news about his condition and no official word on when he might return to Guinea. 
     

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