[ 2012-04-15 ]
Guinea-Bissau opposition vows to reach deal with junta
BISSAU (AFP) - Guinea-Bissau's opposition vowed on
Sunday to quickly reach a power-sharing deal with
the junta that seized power in the latest coup to
shake the notoriously unstable west African
The two sides held talks for a third day on Sunday
trying to hammer out a deal following Thursday's
putsch that came in the middle of a presidential
campaign, derailing the second round.
"In any case there will be a solution before the
arrival Monday of the ECOWAS delegation" that is
due to mediate the conflict, said Fernando Vaz, a
spokesman for around a dozen opposition parties
who have held talks with the junta that overthrew
the government last week.
"We have two proposals to present to the military.
One is constitutional, and the other is for a
radical change," Vaz said ahead of the talks,
Soldiers violently dispersed some 30 people who
tried to hold a peaceful demonstration in front of
the national assembly, where the negotiations were
taking place, according to an AFP journalist on
On Friday the new self-styled military command
under the army vice chief of staff, Mamadu Ture
Kuruma, offered parties a role in a "unity
government" in which the junta would keep the
defence and interior portfolios.
The new regime would exclude the toppled African
Party for the Independence of Guinea-Bissau and
Cape Verde (PAIGC), which has led the country for
almost 10 years.
The coup, in which troops detained Prime Minister
Carlos Gomes Junior, the election frontrunner, has
been condemned by the United Nations, the African
Union as well as the United States, the European
Union and former colonial ruler Portugal.
Concern was mounting at the weekend for the
well-being of Gomes and of President Raimundo
Pereira who the junta says were captured in the
power grab Thursday night, and for other members
of the toppled government in the coup-prone
In Lisbon on Saturday, the Community of Portuguese
Speaking Countries (CPLP) issued a strongly worded
condemnation of the coup in the former Portuguese
colony and called for UN-backed military
intervention, without suggesting possible
The coup leaders announced Saturday that they had
reached an agreement with Angola, another former
Portuguese colony, on the departure of its troops
stationed in Bissau and a member of Angola's force
confirmed to AFP that the soldiers were waiting
for transport home.
The deposed government had been pushing for
military reforms, and the junta justified its coup
by claiming there had been a "secret deal" with
Angola to undermine the army.
Angola had in any case announced the departure of
the force last Monday, a few days before the
The European Union warned Saturday that it was
reviewing all remaining aid to Guinea-Bissau. It
called on the junta to free prisoners and
re-establish the legitimate government.
The coup has already been condemned by the United
Nations and the African Union as well as the
United States, the European Union and Portugal.
The new junta says it is holding Prime Minister
Carlos Gomes Junior, who had been the favourite to
win the second round of the presidential election,
as well as President Raimundo Pereira and other
members of the government.
Gomes had garnered 49 percent of the vote in the
first round on March 18, and campaigning for the
second round had been due to start Friday.
Opposition candidates, including ex-president
Kumba Yala who would have faced Gomes in the
second round, had alleged fraud in the first round
and said they would boycott the runoff.
The election came two months after the death of
president Malam Bacai Sanha following a long
The leaders of Thursday's coup include the army,
navy and air force chiefs. They announced Friday
they had also deposed the army chief-of-staff,
General Antonio Indjai.
But from Lisbon, Pires dismissed that last claim
as "a farce" saying Indjai had been behind the
Since independence in 1974, Guinea-Bissau's army
and state have remained in constant conflict, and
no president has ever completed a full term in
office. Three have been overthrown and one was
The tiny country with a multitude of islands has
become a major transit point for cocaine from
Latin America to Europe, and Washington has
accused some senior military figures of
involvement in the illicit trade.
Source - AFP
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