Guinea-Bissau opposition vows to reach deal with juntaBy ALLEN YERO EMBALO and MALICK ROCKHY BA | Sunday, April 15 2012 at 17:10
Guinea-Bissau's opposition vowed on Sunday to quickly reach a power-sharing deal with the junta that seized power in the latest coup to shake the notoriously unstable west African country.
The two sides held talks for a third day on Sunday trying to hammer out a deal following Thursday's putsch that came in the middle of a presidential campaign, derailing the second round.
"In any case there will be a solution before the arrival Monday of the Ecowas delegation" that is due to mediate the conflict, said Fernando Vaz, a spokesman for around a dozen opposition parties who have held talks with the junta that overthrew the government last week.
"We have two proposals to present to the military. One is constitutional, and the other is for a radical change," Vaz said ahead of the talks, without elaborating.
Soldiers violently dispersed some 30 people who tried to hold a peaceful demonstration in front of the national assembly, where the negotiations were taking place.
On Friday the new self-styled military command under the army vice chief of staff, Mamadu Ture Kuruma, offered parties a role in a "unity government" in which the junta would keep the defence and interior portfolios.
The new regime would exclude the toppled African Party for the Independence of Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde (PAIGC), which has led the country for almost 10 years.
The coup, in which troops detained Prime Minister Carlos Gomes Junior, the election frontrunner, has been condemned by the United Nations, the African Union as well as the United States, the European Union and former colonial ruler Portugal.
Concern was mounting at the weekend for the well-being of Gomes and of President Raimundo Pereira who the junta says were captured in the power grab Thursday night, and for other members of the toppled government in the coup-prone nation.
In Lisbon on Saturday, the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries (CPLP) issued a strongly worded condemnation of the coup in the former Portuguese colony and called for UN-backed military intervention, without suggesting possible troop contributors.
The coup leaders announced Saturday that they had reached an agreement with Angola, another former Portuguese colony, on the departure of its troops stationed in Bissau and a member of Angola's force confirmed that the soldiers were waiting for transport home.
The deposed government had been pushing for military reforms, and the junta justified its coup by claiming there had been a "secret deal" with Angola to undermine the army.
Angola had in any case announced the departure of the force last Monday, a few days before the coup.
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