ECOWAS Leader Calls for Intervention Force in Guinea
By SOF Editor on Mon, 12/14/2009 - 12:20pm
The head of West Africa's regional alliance says foreign troops should be sent to Guinea to establish security, following the shooting of the country's military leader. Talks to resolve Guinea's political crisis resumed Sunday in Burkina Faso.
The secretary general of the Economic Community of West African States, or ECOWAS, says Guinea needs a regional intervention force to prevent further violence.
Mohamed Ibn Chambas said the preventative deployment of such a force would ensure the delivery of humanitarian assistance and establish a safe environment for the Guinean people. Chambas said the regional and international community is determined to help Guinea restore constitutional legality amid a deteriorating security situation. He added that a special force for order and security would protect citizens, defend Guinea's territorial integrity, and play a role in guaranteeing peace and security.
Chambas spoke in Ouagadougou where diplomats from ECOWAS, the United Nations, the African Union, and the International Contact Group met with members of Guinea's military government and its political opponents.
ECOWAS mediator Burkinabe President Blaise Compaore is proposing a power sharing arrangement. But that has been rejected by the main opposition coalition because it says the deal gives too much power to the military and its allies.
These are the first talks since the shooting of military leader Captain Moussa Dadis Camara 10 days ago. He survived the apparent assassination attempt by members of the presidential guard. But there has been little news on his condition and no official word on when he might return to Guinea.
Defense Minister Sekouba Konate has taken charge in Captain Camara's absence and has spent much of the last week calling for military discipline and respect for civilians.
Regional diplomats hope the change will make Guinea's opposition more comfortable about sharing power with members of a military council that took power in a coup last December.
ECOWAS Secretary General Chambas says worsening security risks are destabilizing not only Guinea, but also the region by undermining efforts to consolidate peace in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea-Bissau and Ivory Coast.
Humanitarian officials are preparing a regional contingency plan to feed as many as a-half-a-million people if Guinea's security situation collapses.