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Alpha Conde at the UN Today: If You Blinked, You May Have Missed Him

September 23, 2011

Alpha Conde appeared at the podium in the General Assembly Hall at 4:17 PM. By 4:29 PM he was gone. His presentation was 12 minutes long – far shorter than most. He was expressionless throughout and his delivery was so fast that the interpreter had to play catch up more than once.

It was obvious that Conde came to do a specific job in New York: give a speech to the UN General Assembly that would make him appear to be doing things in Guinea that the international community wants him to do. The international community has been nervous about Conde because of his tendency to treat political opponents like enemies of the State, instigating ethnic violence, and making public comments suggesting he doesn’t give a damn about human rights. The speech, while containing the kinds of things that the international community likes, had virtually no detail that Conde might be called upon later to explain.

Conde began his presentation by reaffirming he is Guinea’s “first democratically-elected president” and was elected through a free, transparent and credible election. Perhaps, he thinks if he repeats it often enough it won’t be a lie. He said he spent 50 years fighting for democracy. More like 50 years in France doing who knows what.

Here is the essence of his speech — topics raised, but provided no specifics:

-Kudos to the International Contact Group, President Blaise Compaore for getting Guinea through the election process.

-In favor of human rights, national unity, and a democratic society

-Concerned about socio-economic issues, especially as it concerns women and children

-The day after he “won” the 2010 election, he started to revamp Guinea’s economy

-Momentum for legal system reform and ending impunity

-Reduce poverty, guarantee water and energy for all

-Cancel debt and thanks to the IMF, World Bank, and the African Development Bank

-National reconciliation will involve grassroots organization, workers, political parties led by Guinean religious leaders

-Focus on military and security issues

-Legislative elections — need review of the electoral roll and to correct anomalies so that all Guineans who wish to vote can do so

-Poverty – after the Johannesburg and Beijing meetings, focus on a periodic evaluation and seek advice from outside Guinea

-Palestine statehood supported by Guinea

-States must prevent conflicts and African mediators should be used more often

-Equitable representation of African States on the UN Security Council and as permanent members of the UNSC

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