The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) says it remains committed to working with the people of Guinea to ensure the restoration of constitutional order and the holding of credible elections in that country.
ECOWAS Executive Secretary Mohamed Ibn Chambas told said ultimately the Guinean people must have a say in choosing their leader. He spoke to VOA and paid tribute to the late Guinean leader Lansana Conte who passed away this week after ruling Guinea for 24 years.
“First of all, I would like to express my condolences and the condolences of ECOWAS to the family of President Lansana Conte, to the government and the people of Guinea on the passing of the president. President Conte will be remembered for being a pillar of stability in the Mano River Union area and the sub-region of West Africa which has gone through tremendous difficulties and crises and civil wars. And all through that period, he remained the bulwark against rebel insurrections,” he said.
Chambas said the late Conte took a position against military coups that was consistent with that of the African Union, particularly ECOWAS that military coups should not be accepted.
Guinea has half the world’s known reserves of bauxite and deposits of diamonds and iron ore.
Chambas said Guinea has a brighter future because of its abundant natural and human resources.
“Guinea, if it becomes to form politically and economically, will be able to realize its potentiality and indeed it would turn out to be one of the centers of growth, development and integration in West Africa,” Chambas said.
He said ECOWAS will continue to work with the people of Guinea until constitutional order is restored.
“ECOWAS remains engaged in working with the Guinen to strengthen constitutional institutions, to work with that country for elections. So certainly as in other countries in the region, the role of ECOWAS will be a supportive one. We’ll work very closely with the people of Guinea to ensure that constitutional order is maintained, to ensure that credible and transparent elections can be held so that ultimately it’s the people’s choice which will be respected,” Chambas said.