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Junta chief Camara publicly confirms he will not seek return to power

Guinea’s ruling junta chief Moussa Dadis Camara has made his first public statement in Burkina Faso, where he is convalescing, confirming he will not stand in upcoming elections or return to Guinea in the near future.

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REUTERS - Guinea’s military junta chief Captain Moussa Dadis Camara said on Sunday he backs a plan to appoint a transitional government, and he will not seek power in the world’s biggest bauxite exporter.

Camara, speaking in public for the first time since he was injured in an assassination attempt in the West African country in December, is convalescing in Burkina Faso’s capital Ouagadougou.

“I signed in full confidence ... for a rapid exit from the crisis,” Camara told reporters, referring to an agreement signed on Jan. 15 in which he undertook to remain in Burkina Faso rather than return to Guinea and reclaim power.

Neither members of the junta nor members of the transitional government will be allowed to stand in the presidential elections demanded by the international community.

“The question of my non-candidature, and that of the other members of the CNDD ... is definitively settled,” Camara said, reading slowly and hesitantly, his voice barely audible.

Tearful scenes

“I need rest, hence a period of convalescence, after which I will be free to go where I choose,” he said, while some junta members shed tears.

Some diplomats have suggested that a West African country may offer Camara exile, which would avoid the possibility of a divisive return to Guinea.

Camara’s National Council for Democracy and Development (CNDD) sparked a political crisis when it took power in December 2008. That deepened when security forces killed more than 150 people at a pro-democracy march in September, a massacre for which the United Nations said Camara was responsible.

His second in command, Sekouba Konate, assumed control of the country when Camara was shot by his former aide-de-camp.

Earlier this month, Konate said he would appoint a civilian prime minister to head a government intended to manage the country’s move towards a free vote, a promise which was welcomed by foreign countries who fear instability in Guinea might spill across the region.

“(Konate) and I will continue to work together for a successful transition to allow the election of a democratically chosen president,” Camara said.

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