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On Guinea Bissau, ECOWAS Calls Coup-Reward Holistic, Angola - Gbagbo Roots?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 7 -- Why would Economic Community Of West African States, under the leadership of Alassane Ouattara of Cote d'Ivoire, be trying to give the de facto leaders of Guinea Bissau a full year as a reward for their coup d'etat?

  This question was asked in and out of two long meetings Monday at the UN, the first of the Security Council, and the afternoon session involving the European Union among others as well.

Outside the second meeting, after 6 pm, Inner City Press asked Salamatu Hussaini Suleiman, ECOWAS' Commissioner for Political Affairs, about the 12 month proposal. She answered at length, that a "holistic" approach is needed, to solve Guinea Bissau's problems "once and for all."

"The twelve months for the transition period is for updating voting register, for example, and other reforms." But there was a first round, that the Security Council wisely or not called mostly free and fair.

Standing next to and escorting Salamatu Hussaini Suleiman was Ivorian Ambassador Bamba, who won his credential at the UN to represent Alassane Ouattara with some fanfare.

Superficially, the fact that Ouattara was helped to power by the UN Security Council and France in the name of democracy led to even more consternation at ECOWAS under his leadership going soft on democracy.

But a well placed Council source pointed out to Inner City Press that during Ouattara's standoff with defiant hold-over President Laurent Gbagbo, "Angola took Gbagbo's side." Now Angola is main player in the Portuguese Speaking Community configuration CPLP, and IS the MISSANG mission in Guinea Bissau. So Ouattara "goes in the other direction. But on Mali too?

Inner City Press asked ECOWAS' Salamatu Hussaini Suleiman about Mali as well. She said the situation there is "better" than in Guinea Bissau, in that there is a Malian "transitional government."

She said, "Definitely we are looking at the problems in Mali as well... There is a transitional government in place, it is easier to work with that resolution and put the reforms in place."

But, she noted, there are the rebels in the north. Yes. And some wonder how troops from Nigeria and Cote d'Ivoire would fare in hot desert conditions in Timbuktu. Watch this site.

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Click here for Sept 23, '11 about UN General Assembly

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These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

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