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UN Envoy, Said Djinnit, Arrives in Guinea to Discuss Election Crisis

September 18, 2010

UN envoy arrives in Guinea to discuss election crisis

(AFP) – 4 hours ago

CONAKRY — A top UN envoy arrived in Guinea Saturday at the head of an international delegation for talks with key players in the crisis over the suspended presidential election.

A senior member of presidential contender Cellou Dalein Diallo’s party meanwhile threatened to shut down the capital if activists arrested during last weekend’s violence were not released.

Said Djinnit, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s special representative for West Africa, led members of the International Contact Group for Guinea into talks with election officials and political leaders on Saturday.

Djinnit and the other foreign envoys were due to meet members of the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) which decided to postpone the presidential runoff vote that had been due to take place on Sunday.

They were also due to meet the country’s interim president General Sekouba Konate and the two presidential candidates, Diallo and Alpha Conde, in a bid to fix a new date for the vote.

The second round vote was postponed after clashes last weekend in Conakry between supporters of the two candidates left one person dead and 50 injured.

Veteran opposition leader Conde said the July first-round result, in which Diallo won 44 percent of the vote to his 18 percent, was fraudulent, and blamed CENI.

But both candidates have called for the election to take place as soon as possible.

A senior member of Diallo’s Union of Democratic Forces of Guinea said activists would take to the streets Monday if police did not released around 200 of the party’s young supporters arrested during last weekend’s violence.

“If they are not released between now and Sunday we will shut down Conakry,” warned party vice-president Amadou Bah Oury.

Its activists would also be pushing hard to get a date for the vote set, he added.

CENI has said it postponed the vote for logistical and technical problems.

“We need two weeks to prepare well,” CENI spokesman Thierno Ceydou Bayo said on Friday.

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