By Christian Akorlie
ACCRA (Reuters) – West African leaders gathered in Accra on Thursday to determine how the region’s main political and economic bloc can steer Guinea back towards constitutional rule following a coup that ousted President Alpha Conde last week.
The 15-nation Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) condemned the putsch and has suspended Guinea from the bloc’s decision-making bodies.
The leaders were to hear a report from a ministerial mission that went to Guinea’s capital Conakry on Friday to meet the ruling junta.
Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo, who is ECOWAS chairman, said in remarks before a closed-door session that he hoped the heads of state will help offer durable solutions to the crisis.
He added that the leaders will also hear a report from the mediator of the crisis in Mali, former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan. Mali has also been suspended from the organization following two coups within a year.
Jonathan said last week that the bloc was concerned Mali’s transitional government has not made sufficient progress toward organizing elections in February as agreed after the coup last year.
“We are required to take informed decisions on these matters that will have long-term consequences for the stability and defense of democratic values of our region,” Akufo-Addo said.
The junta in Guinea led by Mamady Doumbouya, a former member of the French Foreign Legion, is holding consultations with various public figures, groups and business leaders in the country to map a framework for a transitional government.
As part of the four-day consultation, the junta will meet with Guinea’s main business lobby and executives of mining firms operating in its bauxite, gold, iron ore and diamond sectors.
The junta has not said how long the transitional government will last, or who will lead it.
(Reporting by Christian Akorlie; Writing by Cooper Inveen and Bate Felix; Editing by David Clarke and Andrew Cawthorne)