Regional groups to establish contact group for Guinea

Monday, February 2, 2009
By: 
Bathandwa Mbola

Addis Ababa - Regional and international organisations have agreed to establish a contact group to follow up on the political situation in Guinea.

The decision was made by the African Union, the United Nations, the International Organisation of la Francophonie (OIF), the European Union (EU), the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) and the Community of Sahelo-Saharan States (CEN-SAD).

These organisations held a consultative meeting on Friday in Addis Ababa ahead of the AU summit on Sunday.

"Given the fragile and fluid situation on the ground and the concerns expressed by many actors in Guinea on the need to ensure transparency in the transition process, the participants agreed to establish an International Contact Group on Guinea to monitor the situation very carefully and continue to coordinate their efforts for the speedy restoration of constitutional order, on the basis of the relevant elements of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)," the meeting agreed.

The participants also expressed their concern over the recent developments in Guinea and their possible impact on the smooth conduct of the transition and its outcome through the effective and genuine restoration of constitutional order.

The Contact Group will be co-chaired by the ECOWAS and the AU Commission and will comprise CEN-SAD, the EU, the Mano River Union, OIC, OIF, the UN, the Chair of the PSC and the Chair of ECOWAS, as well as the African members and the permanent members of the UN Security Council.

The Group will meet as often as necessary, at least once every two months. It will also hold its first meeting in Conakry on 16 February.

Meanwhile, the AU will soon have a new flag, the Executive Board meeting as part of the preparatory sessions of the 12th Summit of the Organisation decided on Friday.

The decision to have a new flag surfaced over a year ago, but the process was speeded-up under the aegis of the current Chairperson of the Commission, Jean Ping, who referred his detailed report on the period from July to December 2008 to the approval of the Executive Board.

The Commission received 116 proposals, five of which were eventually selected with an eye to redesigning the colours of the pan-African flag.