West Africa bloc chair says Guinea accepts two-year transition | Military News | Al Jazeera

In July, bloc lead­ers met in Accra, Ghana to dis­cuss tran­si­tions to civil­ian rule in Guinea, Mali and Burk­i­na Faso.The chair of the West African region­al bloc has said Guinea will cut the time­line of its planned tran­si­tion to civil­ian rule from three to two years.
Speak­ing along­side French Pres­i­dent Emmanuel Macron at a media brief­ing in Bis­sau, Guinea-Bis­sau Pres­i­dent Umaro Sis­so­co Emba­lo, who is chair of the Eco­nom­ic Com­mu­ni­ty of West African States (ECOWAS), said he had recent­ly con­vinced Guinea’s mil­i­tary gov­ern­ment to short­en its timeline.
“I was in Conakry with the pres­i­dent of the com­mis­sion (of ECOWAS) to make the mil­i­tary jun­ta under­stand the deci­sion of the sum­mit of heads of state that the tran­si­tion can­not exceed 24 months”, Emba­lo said.
“They had pro­posed 36 months, but we suc­ceed­ed in con­vinc­ing them,” he added.
Ous­mane Gaoual Dial­lo, a Guinean min­is­ter and spokesman for the tran­si­tion­al gov­ern­ment, told AFP that “nei­ther the gov­ern­ment nor the pres­i­den­cy con­firm this infor­ma­tion about the dura­tion of the tran­si­tion in Guinea”.
An ECOWAS offi­cial told AFP on con­di­tion of anonymi­ty: “The prin­ci­ple is accept­ed but we were wait­ing to for­malise it … before announc­ing it.”
Last Sep­tem­ber, sol­diers led by Colonel Mamady Doum­bouya over­threw Pres­i­dent Alpha Conde and in May, the mil­i­tary pledged to hand over pow­er to elect­ed civil­ians with­in three years.
But region­al pow­ers reject­ed this time­line, with ECOWAS sus­pend­ing Guinea after the coup.
Last week, West African medi­a­tors met Guinea’s rul­ing mil­i­tary gov­ern­ment for talks on a return to civil­ian rule, accord­ing to ECOWAS and state media. Emba­lo, Gam­bian diplo­mat Omar Alieu Touray, who is the pres­i­dent of the ECOWAS com­mis­sion, and Benin’s for­mer pres­i­dent Thomas Boni Yayi, the ECOWAS medi­a­tor for Guinea, were all present.
Ear­li­er in July, ECOWAS lead­ers had met in Ghana’s cap­i­tal Accra to dis­cuss tran­si­tions to civil­ian rule in Guinea, as well as Mali and Burk­i­na Faso, which togeth­er have under­gone four coups since August 2020.
They lift­ed tough sanc­tions that had been imposed on Mali’s mil­i­tary regime, accept­ing a March 2024 return to civil­ian rule.
And they agreed to allow Burk­i­na Faso two years for its tran­si­tion back to democracy.
But dis­cus­sions until then had been trick­i­er with the rulers of Guinea, where the gov­ern­ment had announced a 36-month tran­si­tion – a peri­od that African Union chair­man and Sene­galese Pres­i­dent Macky Sall described as “unthink­able”.
On Thurs­day, protests against Guinea’s mil­i­tary lead­ers brought Conakry to a standstill.
The Nation­al Front for the Defence of the Con­sti­tu­tion (FNDC), a coali­tion of polit­i­cal par­ties, trade unions and civ­il soci­ety organ­i­sa­tions, called the demon­stra­tions to denounce the government’s “uni­lat­er­al man­age­ment” of any return to civil­ian rule.
Oth­er par­ties and coali­tions joined the protests.
In May, the gov­ern­ment banned pub­lic demon­stra­tions, and Thursday’s protests led to spo­radic clash­es between demon­stra­tors and police.