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Guinea Coup Leaders Choose New Prime Minister


Guinea's new military leaders named international banker Kabine Komara as the country's new prime minister. Komara is a senior director at the African Export-Import Bank in Cairo and was one of four men whom labor leaders nominated for the post following anti-government protests in 2007. He is a veteran of Guinea's central bank and Ministry of Finance who also worked in the private sector for a company producing aluminum near the capital, Conakry.

In a broadcast on state radio, a military spokesman said the new prime minister will control government action and choose new cabinet ministers in consultation with Army Captain Moussa Camara, who the junta name president last week.

The military took charge following last week's death of long-time dictator Lansana Conte, ultimately forcing the previous prime minister and speaker of the National Assembly to surrender power. Captain Camara says his new ruling council of six civilians and 26 soldiers will organize elections in December 2010.

The African Union on Monday suspended Guinea because of the coup. The European Union and the United States have also condemned the military takeover, with the U.S. State Department saying the military's undermining of constitutional rule can only lead to greater political isolation.

But the regional Economic Community of West African States says it is ready to work with Guinea's military and civilian politicians to avoid international sanctions. Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade says coup leaders deserve international support because they are promising to hold free and fair elections.

President Wade says he believes Captain Camara is an honest man who took power to fill a dangerous vacuum. The Senegalese leader called on all countries, in particular former colonial power France, to take coup leaders at their word. Mr. Wade called on the world community "not to throw the first stone".

Captain Camara met with foreign diplomats in Conakry on Tuesday and again appealed for international support, asking for help to put in place lasting democratic principles.

Following talks with Captain Camara, the French Ambassador to Guinea, Jean-Michel Berrit, told reporters that the European Union renewed its call for a peaceful and democratic transition of power as soon as possible.

France currently holds the rotating chair of the European Union. And Berrit said the EU remains opposed to military coups. He said diplomats repeated their position that legislative and presidential elections should be held early next year and that during this transition, the military should return power to a civilian government.

The French ambassador said the ruling council must decide the issue of the elections, but at the very least, religious and civil society leaders should be involved in a process that guarantees the legitimacy and transparency of any vote.