- The United States said it was suspending aid to Guinea if the military junta does not return to civilian rule.
The State Department threatened to suspend US$ 15 million aid to Guinea on 24 December if coup leaders did not take steps to restore civilian rule. Guinea's military seized power of the country on 23 December 2008, hours after the government announced the death of president Lansana Conte.
Department spokesman Sean McCormack said in a statement that the US remains concerned about the military coup in Guinea, saying it remains committed to peace process and to support the efforts of the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to speed the transition to civilian rule.
The statement said the US was ready to follow through on its warning to suspend aid. "The United States is suspending assistance to Guinea, with the exception of humanitarian aid and programmes supporting the democratic process," Mr McCormack said in a statement.
The US signed an agreement with the Guinean government in September to reinforce democratic governance in the country through the organisation of free and transparent elections, as well as other measures. The legislative elections in Guinea were expected to be held in early 2009.
The statement further expressed concern in Conakry, where a number of generals forced into retirement after the December coup have been arrested by the military junta and three of them were still in custody. A total of 22 military leaders were forced into retirement five days after the coup, which was led by Capt. Moussa Dadis Camara.
Some analysts said the current arrest of some generals was a clear indication of divisions within the army over the coup.
The African Union has suspended Guinea's membership to press for the return to constitutional order in that country. ECOWAS which is expected to meet on Friday, has voiced its zero tolerance for the coup, mulling sanctions against Guinea ruled by the military junta.
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