Guinea junta says it will renegotiate mining contracts
The leader of a military coup in Guinea said Saturday that the new regime would renegotiate all mining contracts in the West African nation, dpa reported.
Captain Moussa Dadis Camara, who seized power on Tuesday hours after the death of President Lansana Conte, told a meeting of trade unions, civil groups and political parties that gold mining in particular was frozen until further notice, Radio France International reported.
International companies are heavily involved in mining in the West African nation, which has the world's largest reserves of bauxite, an ore used to make aluminium, and significant deposits of gold and diamonds.
Camara also told a crowd of about 1,000 people that anybody found guilty of corruption would be punished.
The coup leaders are also due to meet international representatives in an attempt to convince them of their good intentions.
Camara invited the UN, EU, African Union and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to the meeting.
All of these bodies have condemned the coup, but regional power Senegal has urged foreign powers to back the new leaders.
Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade said Friday that the new leaders were not interested in power for power's sake, but rather in avoiding social and ethnic conflicts.
Camara has said that he has no interest in holding on to power and would arrange "free, fair and transparent" elections for 2010.
The Guinean constitution specifies that in the event of the president's death, the head of the National Assembly should take over and elections should be organized within 60 days.
Conte, who ruled Guinea for 24 years after seizing power in a bloodless coup, was buried on Friday.
The leader was known to suffer from diabetes and was a heavy smoker. His exact birth date is not known, but he was believed to have been 74.
In recent years his leadership was tested by a military mutiny, anti-government riots and strikes over the rising cost of food and fuel.