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Guinea junta seeks to allay fears

Guinea's coup leader Capt Moussa Dadis Camara (right)
Capt Camara says he wants to rid Guinea of corruption

Guinea's military coup leaders have invited foreign diplomats to a meeting to "reassure the international community" about their intentions.

The rebels said the talks would be held in the capital Conakry on Saturday.

There has been international condemnation of Tuesday's coup, but it was welcomed by some people in Guinea.

Capt Moussa Dadis Camara led the revolt just hours after the death of veteran strongman President Lansana Conte, who is due to be buried later on Friday.

Sick and tired of despotic rule under the former president and his hugely corrupt government, Guineans are pinning their hopes on the military, the BBC's West Africa correspondent Will Ross says.

On Thursday, Guinean Prime Minister Ahmed Tidiane Souare and some 30 other ministers submitted to the coup leaders.

Government leaders had previously insisted they were still in control.

'Free elections'

In a statement read on Guinea's national radio, the junta said the meeting with foreign envoys would be held at 1200 GMT.

The council has no ambitions to hold on to power
Capt Camara
Coup leader

The rebels also said they would hold separate talks on Saturday with leaders of Guinea's political parties and civil society groups.

Capt Camara, a junior army officer, has declared himself Guinea's new president and head of the junta's new National Council for Democracy and Development (CNDD).

On Thursday, he said the new 32-member ruling council replacing the government and other institutions would hold "free, credible and transparent elections" in December 2010, when Mr Conte's presidential term would have ended.

"The council has no ambitions to hold on to power. The only reason is the need to safeguard territorial integrity. That is the only reason. There is no ulterior motive," he said.

Capt Camara also said he had no intention of standing in the elections and that he wanted to restore order to the country and rid it of corruption.

World reaction

The African Union, European Union and United States have condemned the coup.

HAVE YOUR SAY
We need a change, change that will benefit all Guineans. We pray for a good leader
Amara, Nzerekore

The US embassy in Conakry called for an immediate return to civilian rule in Guinea, saying the junta's announcement that elections would not be held for two years was unacceptable.

France, which currently holds the EU presidency, also said a vote should be held soon.

"The presidency points out the importance of respecting time limits and within the first half of 2009 holding democratic and transparent elections," the office of French President Nicolas Sarkozy said in a statement.

Guinea's two main opposition groups also urged the junta to stage elections in a year's time.

Celebrations

International condemnation of the coup appears to be at odds with the opinion of the Guinean people, the BBC's Will Ross says.

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Celebrations in Conarky

On Wednesday, thousands of people took to the streets and cheered the man many now refer to as President Camara, as the military paraded him through the capital.

President Conte, 74, died on Monday night and renegade soldiers moved to seize power in the hours afterwards, taking control of state radio and television.

His funeral is to take place in his home village.

According to Guinea's constitution, the speaker of its parliament, Aboubacar Sompare, should be in charge of the government until elections are held in 60 days.



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