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Saturday, September 19, 2009

AU Imposes Sanctions On Guinea Junta

Captain Moussa Dadis Camara
The African Union on Friday announced it would impose sanctions on Guinea's junta leader, Captain Moussa Dadis Camara, over his intention to run in upcoming presidential polls.

The AU's Peace and Security Council, which did not elaborate on the nature of the sanctions, argued that Camara, who took over the west African country in a bloodless coup last December, had reneged on an earlier pledge not to run.

The council "expresses deep concern over the deteriorating situation in Guinea and the consequences it has for the process of return to constitutional order in the country," a statement received by AFP said.

After initially saying he would not seek electoral legitimacy, the 45-year-old leader of the National Council for Democracy and Development (CNDDP) has started to hint that he would indeed run.

The council "decides to impose appropriate sanctions against the president of the CNDD and all other individuals, both civilian and military, whose activities are in contravention of those commitments," the AU statement said.

AU Commission chairman Jean Ping had hinted earlier Friday that the continental body would turn up the heat on Camara ahead of the presidential polls due to kick off on January 31, 2010.

The decision to impose sanctions on Camara and his colleagues came after consultations Thursday at the organisation's headquarters in Addis Ababa.

The African Union suspended Guinea after the December coup.

In previous cases, the continental body has taken sanctions against illegitimate leaderships ranging from travel bans to asset freezes.

The AU however gave Camara one more month to make good on his promise.

The statement explained that the sanctions would only be enforced "if, within a period of one month from this date, the concerned individuals do not formally confirm those commitments and ensure their respect."

Camara installed himself at the helm of the west African country in December last year after leading a bloodless coup within hours of the death of Guinea's strongman leader Lansana Conte who had been in power since 1984.

Camara's possible candidacy has sparked demonstrations, with hundreds of people protesting since last month in the streets of Conakry and most major international powers urging him to hold his promise.

Officials in Addis have voiced frustration at the support given to Camara's junta by some AU members states such as regional power Senegal and AU chair Libya.

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