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France hails decision to sideline injured junta chief and hold elections

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner (pictured) hailed an agreement by Guinea's political rivals to sideline the ailing junta chief and hold elections as a "decisive stage." Kouchner went on to say that these stops paved the way for cooperation.

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AFP - An agreement by Guinea's political rivals to sideline the ailing junta chief and hold elections in six months was a "decisive stage" opening the way to cooperation, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said Saturday.

"Thanks to the commitments made... 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," Kouchner 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."

The minister, who said recently a return to the ex-French colony by junta chief Dadis Camara could start a civil war, said France gave its full backing to number two Sekouba Konate in carrying out the terms of the declaration signed Friday in Ouagadougou, capital of Burkina Faso.

The pact said Camara should effectively remain in exile, following a December 3 assassination attempt that led to his being hospitalised in Morocco. Camara is now in Burkina Faso.

The accord was signed by Camara, interim junta chief Konate, and Burkina Faso President Blaise Compaore who is mediating between the ruling junta and the opposition.

The pact provides for a national transition council and a unity government before polls are held "in six months."
 

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