CONAKRY, Jan 17 – Guinea sought a new interim prime minister Saturday after a deal that sidelines the country\’s junta chief, recently targeted in an assassination bid following a massacre of opposition supporters.
On Friday Guinea\’s political rivals signed the deal providing for elections in six months and for junta chief Captain Moussa Dadis Camara to remain "in convalescence" following the December 3 bid to kill him. Camara is currently in Burkina Faso.
"The first two people put forward for the role of prime minister, Jean-Marie Dore and Rabiatou Serah Diallo, must go to Ouagadougou for talks," said Lieutenant Mohamed Kasse, spokesman for interim junta chief General Sekouba Konate.
Dore is spokesman for the Forces Vives coalition of opposition parties, trade unions and civil society, and Rabiatou Serah Diallo is general secretary of the National Confederation of Guinean Workers.
But the pair refused to go to the capital of Burkina Faso, whose president Blaise Compaore is mediating between the ruling junta and the Guinean opposition, and insisted Konate return home to name a new premier.
"The prime minister head of government should be named in Conakry and not abroad," said Dore. "The people are awaiting general Konate\’s return with fervour to congratulate him."
Diallo echoed him saying: "What are we going to Ouagadougou for? We cannot take all our little problems there?"
Interim leader Konate\’s spokesman Kasse said the general would remain president and head of state for a six-month period.
He added that "after the elections, automatically, he (General Konate) will hand over his powers".
According to Kasse, while the discussions will occur in Burkina Faso, the "official nomination" of interim prime minister "will take place in Guinea".
"It is a matter of days, it is imminent", Kasse said, adding that a position would also be found for the unsuccessful candidate.
The deal on Friday, coming after two days of difficult negotiations, was met with relief from the international community, led by France and the African Union, which were concerned about an immediate return to Guinea by Camara.
Camara was shot in the head by an aide-de-camp in December after what some said was a dispute over a bloody crackdown on an opposition rally in September in which more than 150 people were shot dead.
"Guinea has marked a decisive stage in getting out of the crisis it has been in for a year and on the way to a state of law and justice," French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner had said in a statement.
"France will resolutely back the application of this declaration and, in this framework, can soon resume its cooperation. It will attempt to mobilize Guinea\’s partners so that they can accompany the process toward elections."
President of the African Union Commission, Jean Ping, also welcomed the agreement, describing it as a "positive evolution of the situation in Guinea".