• January 30, 2023

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West African bloc ECOWAS said it will meet Thursday to discuss possible steps after Guinea’s president was ousted in coup earlier this month, Ghana’s foreign minister said.

On Wednesday, the army rulers held talks with the country’s civil society, a day after meeting with politicians and leaders of political parties.

ECOWAS already suspended Guinea last week after a special forces commander toppled 83-year-old president Alpha Conde, calling his ouster a “clear violation” of the group’s regional charter.

A delegation from the 15-member ECOWAS group was sent to Conakry to meet with coup leader Lieutenant-Colonel Mamady Doumbouya, visit Conde and demand a civilian-led transition.

Ghana Foreign Minister Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, who led the mission, said Thursday’s extraordinary summit would review the delegation’s findings and decide next steps for Guinea’s return to constitutional rule.

“The summit will have a single agenda, where I will lay before the authority the report of the ECOWAS high-level mission to Guinea,” she told reporters on Wednesday.

Botchwey said Guinea’s coup leaders were likely still not in a position to give a timetable for a return to democratic rule.

“It is now up to the heads of state to take some serious decisions on Guinea, what they want to see in the next, whether it is one month, six months or 12 months, how they want to see the transition and for how long it should be,” she said.

Conde came under increasing pressure for what critics say was a slide into authoritarianism, with dozens of opposition activists arrested after a disputed election last year.

The coup in Guinea has sparked fears of democratic backsliding across West Africa and drawn parallels with Mali, which suffered two army uprisings since August last year.

ECOWAS imposed economic sanctions on Mali last year, but lifted them after Mali’s ruling military committed to restoring civilian rule.

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