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Guinea Lashes ECOWAS Over Transition

Úmaro Sissoco Embaló, President of Guinea. Taken 7.3.2022

Guinea's ruling military junta on Thursday accused the president of the West African regional bloc ECOWAS of "lies" over his call for sanctions on Conakry if it seeks a three-year transition back to civilian rule.

"Crude lies and intimidation are backward steps that dishonor (Economic Community of West African States chief Umaro Sissoco Embalo) and at the same time tarnish ECOWAS' image," Colonel Amara Camara, a senior junta figure, told AFP.

At the end of July, Embalo said he had convinced Guinea's junta to hasten the return to democracy.

Three years in power before a return to civilian rule is "unacceptable for ECOWAS," Embalo, who is also president of Guinea-Bissau, said Wednesday.

"Unacceptable and non-negotiable," he added, in an interview with France's RFI and France 24 broadcasters, a day before an ECOWAS summit on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

The poor but mineral-rich nation has been ruled by the military since a coup in September 2021 that ousted president Alpha Conde, in power since 2010.

Embalo said in the interview that if the junta maintained that timetable, there would be sanctions -- "heavy sanctions, even".

The West Africa bloc has been struggling with a string of military coups in the region in the past two years.