Guinea opposition resume election talks with government

Reuters News
Posted: Jul 02, 2013 9:07 AM

CONAKRY (Reuters) - Guinea's opposition parties resumed negotiations with the government on Tuesday over long-delayed legislative elections after breaking off talks two weeks ago following an attack on one of their leaders.

The United Nations is mediating the talks aimed at securing opposition participation in the polls. The vote is meant to seal the mineral-rich West African nation's transition to civilian rule after a 2008 coup.

The opposition coalition accuses the police and youths of attacking Cellou Dalein Diallo, head of its main UFDG party. It has demanded guarantees for the security of its leadership.

Following diplomatic pressure from Western governments and the United Nations, which sent its envoy Said Djinnit to mediate, opposition leader Mouctar Diallo told Reuters the parties had reconvened in the capital Conakry for talks.

"Security guarantees were granted to opposition leaders. Nothing now stands in the way of a comprehensive political agreement," said Saliou Bella Diallo, spokesman for President Alpha Conde's ruling coalition.

The talks could pave the way for the announcement of a new election date after the national electoral commission said two weeks ago that an initial June 30 election was not possible.

More than 50 people have been killed over the past three months during protests by the opposition, which accuses Conde of planning to rig the vote by stuffing the electoral roll with his ethnic Malinke supporters.

Political instability following the military coup has deterred some investors despite Guinea's large deposits of iron ore, bauxite, gold and other minerals.

(Reporting by Saliou Samb; Writing by Bate Felix; Editing by Daniel Flynn)