GUINEA: Regional, international condemnation spreads
CONAKRY, 12 January 2009 (IRIN) - The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has joined the African Union in condemning the military takeover in Guinea, suspending Guinea from ECOWAS until the military junta restores constitutional order.
At a special ECOWAS meeting on 10 January, leaders called on the military junta to establish a transitional body composed of civilian and military members which will lead the country to free, fair and transparent elections in 2009.
ECOWAS’s move came days after officials with the European Union met with just-appointed Prime Minister Kabiné Komara, similarly calling for a multi-stakeholder body, led by a civilian, to set up elections.
The African Union suspended Guinea’s participation
on 29 December, pending a return to constitutional rule.
Junta on elections
Captain Moussa Dadis Camara, head of what the coup leaders call the National Council for Democracy and Development (CNDD), said on 26 December in a meeting with civil society representatives that the military junta would remain in power for 18 months during which it will organise parliamentary and presidential elections.
Heads of opposition parties submitted a proposal to Camara on 4 January calling for legislative and presidential elections to be held within a 12-month period, but they have not yet received a formal response, according to observers.
On 5 January Camara reportedly assured France’s Minister of State for Cooperation and Francophony, Alain Joyandet, the CNDD would hold elections by the end of 2009.
International donors to date have taken different post-coup funding decisions. Most of Guinea’s largest donors would not disclose how much funding is at stake.
The EU, which condemned the coup in a 30 December communiqué, has said it will not suspend its aid. EU representatives in Conakry would not disclose to IRIN the status of EU funding agreements with Guinea.
The World Bank has not yet suspended its aid but its representative in Guinea, Siaka Bakayoko, told IRIN it was “too premature” to say what actions the World Bank would take.
“We are closely monitoring the political situation,” Bakayoko said. “ECOWAS political dialogue is ongoing. It is a dynamic process. Senior managers at the bank are studying the options available to us.”
World Bank funding to Guinea amounts to US$240 million spread over 11 projects; half of the money has already been dispersed, according to Bakayoko.
The United States has suspended assistance outside of humanitarian aid and programmes supporting the democratic process, Sean McCormack, US State Department spokesperson, said in a 6 January press release.
“We reiterate our call for a return to civilian rule and the holding of free, fair and transparent elections as soon as possible,” the communiqué said.
Swedish International Development Agency’s regional coordinator, Anna Furubom Guittet, told IRIN SIDA would not suspend its humanitarian aid to Guinea, “in line with humanitarian principles”.
France’s Minister of State for Cooperation and Francophony, Alain Joyandet kept intact France’s funding to Guinea following assurances from the military junta that elections would be held as soon as possible.
The International Monetary Fund would not disclose its position to IRIN.
Support for peacebuilding
Despite its move to suspend Guinea, ECOWAS appealed to international partners including the World Bank, the IMF and the EU to continue financial support to the country.
ECOWAS leaders also agreed to lobby for Guinea to be eligible for funding by the UN Peacebuilding Commission, an intergovernmental body that supports peace efforts in countries emerging from conflict.
Susanne Frueh, external relations chief at the Peacebuilding Support Office in New York told IRIN: “The country itself would have to request that it be put on the agenda of the Commission.”
Countries at risk of lapsing into conflict can make a request, in line with Security Council Resolution 1645
For Guinea to be considered for peacebuilding funding, the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon would have to declare the country eligible, but for this the new leaders would have to be internationally recognised as legitimate, which is not currently the case, Frueh pointed out.