Guineans Hopeful Regional Mediation Can Resolve Crisis


Civilians in Guinea's capital are hopeful that regional mediation efforts can help bring new elections following last December's coup.  Talks resumed Sunday for the first time since the shooting of Guinea's military leader.

Guinea's military government and its political opponents met with diplomats from the United Nations, the African Union, the Economic Community of West African States, and the European Union.

Though Sunday's talks in the Burkinabe capital did not resolve the crisis, they did restart a dialogue that has been disrupted since the shooting of military leader Captain Moussa Dadis Camara 11 days ago.

Regional mediator Burkinabe President Blaise Compaore is trying to work out a power sharing deal toward elections next year.

Guinean market woman Therese Camara hopes President Compaore succeeds.

Camara says Guineans are all asking the ECOWAS mediator in Ouagadougou to study the situation well. We are young and aspire for peace, she says, and are asking for help to find a solution to the crisis.

Opposition politicians have so far rejected President Compaore's plan because they fear it gives too much power to the military and its allies.

Retired psychiatry professor Youssouf Sano says the key to resolving this crisis is forcing both the military and its opponents to compromise.

Sano says both sides have to put the country first. If the military respects the Guinean people he says, it will be respecting democracy.

While Captain Camara is recovering in a Moroccan military hospital, there has been little news about his condition and no official word on when he might return to Guinea.

Mabinty Sylla sells pealed oranges near one of Conakry's military barracks.

Sylla says Guineans want the regional mediator to help restore calm because peace allows women to find food for their families. It is God who gives power, she says, and if Captain Camara is good, God will keep him in power.

Regional diplomats say the goal is not only resolving the current crisis but establishing a more durable political solution.

French teacher Mohamed Bah says it is a chance for a new start following decades of misrule by long-time leader Lansana Conte.

Bah says the protagonists must put Guinea first by making concessions.  Dialogue is necessary because the people of Guinea have suffered too much.

ECOWAS secretary general Mohamed Ibn Chambas says worsening security here risks destabilizing not only Guinea.  He says it also undermines efforts to consolidate peace in neighboring Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea-Bissau, and Ivory Coast.

Yenkeni Rachid sells candy under a faded umbrella in Conakry's main market.

Rachid says Guineans have nowhere to go, that is why they are asking the mediator for help because Guinea is the only place they know. Rachid says it is not good to change leaders all the time.  This cannot bring development. So she says, may God give health to Captain Camara. 

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