Guinean Prime Minister meets political parties to ease tensions

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Guinean Prime Minister Mohamed Béavogui has met with political parties to ease tensions after the National Front for the Defence of the Constitution (FNDC) suspended its call for a demonstration that was due to be the first major protest rally under the now ruling junta.

The FNDC had called for people to take to the streets on Thursday in defiance of a recent protest ban announced by the military leaders who overthrew former president Alpha Conde in September.

"Only an inclusive approach, adapted to the Guinean reality, will enable us to lay the foundations for the good life together that we all aspire to" " We have already set up an inter-ministerial council, a group of colleagues. We are going to refine the group as we go along... You also have to get organised. The government is counting on the good faith of all the participants in this consultation." the Prime Minister of the transitional government, Mohamed Béavogui, told the political parties, civil society organizations and trade unions.

Guinea has been ruled by a military junta since Colonel Mamady Doumbouya overthrew President Alpha Conde in September 2021. The authorities have set the duration of the transition at three years.

This meeting between the country's political forces comes less than a week before a summit of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which is expected to decide on an extension of economic sanctions.

Two attempts at consultations have already taken place since early 2002, but they were boycotted by a number of organizations, including the National Alliance for Change and Democracy (ANAD) and the National Front for the Defense of the Constitution (FNDC).

This time, both political coalitions were present. The FNDC, which had orchestrated months of mobilization against Mr. Conde from 2019 to 2021, had suspended Wednesday its call for a demonstration against the duration of the transition, to "give a chance" to the dialogue proposed by the Prime Minister.

He posed as a precondition for its participation in the dialogue "the acceptance of a mediator of ECOWAS.

Conversely, the Rassemblement du peuple de Guinée (RPG arc-en-ciel), the former ruling party, refused to take part and conditioned its participation on the release of its imprisoned leaders and an end to the persecution and arrest of political leaders.

"It is essential that each of us here understand once and for all that the only agenda that counts is that of the people," said the Prime Minister in his opening remarks.

Mr. Béavogui concluded by asking participants to "send their contributions" by July 1. He did not set any new meeting dates.

"This is a disappointment," said Fodé Oussou Fofana, vice president of the Union of Democratic Forces of Guinea (UFDG), a member of Anad. "We will never again participate in a meeting until there is a decree that will set up a permanent dialogue framework to be chaired by a facilitator appointed by ECOWAS," he said.

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