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Guinea-Bissau President Opens Talks on New Government


FILE - Guinea-Bissau President Jose Mario Vaz arrives to speak with journalists after a meeting with Portuguese officials at the presidential palace in Lisbon, June 19, 2014.
FILE - Guinea-Bissau President Jose Mario Vaz arrives to speak with journalists after a meeting with Portuguese officials at the presidential palace in Lisbon, June 19, 2014.

Guinea-Bissau President Jose Mario Vaz opened talks with the country's main political parties Friday to form a new government, after he fired the previous cabinet in a power struggle with the prime minister.

Vaz dismissed Prime Minister Domingos Simoes Pereira on Wednesday in a row caused partly by overlapping duties in Guinea-Bissau's semipresidential system. But the ruling PAIGC party, to which both men belong, said Thursday that it would name Pereira to lead the new government — a move Vaz is expected to block.

The United Nations, which has a mandate to promote peace and strengthen democracy in Guinea-Bissau, says the country is now experiencing a "political crisis."

A former Portuguese colony, Guinea-Bissau has a long history of instability, suffering nine coups or attempted coups since 1980. In recent years it has become a major transit point for cocaine smuggled from South America to Europe.

Pereira, popular with Western donors, helped secure more than 1 billion euros ($1.12 billion) in financing at a March conference to help stimulate the economy after a 2014 election.

But Portugal has said political uncertainty could endanger the much-needed assistance.

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    Reuters

    Reuters is a news agency founded in 1851 and owned by the Thomson Reuters Corporation based in Toronto, Canada. One of the world's largest wire services, it provides financial news as well as international coverage in over 16 languages to more than 1000 newspapers and 750 broadcasters around the globe.

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