Page last updated at 17:06 GMT, Saturday, 10 January 2009

West African bloc suspends Guinea

Military leader Captain Moussa Dadis Camara
The US and EU have called for a return to constitutional rule

A West African regional bloc says it is suspending Guinea from its ranks until the military leadership, which seized power last month, holds elections.

The Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) said Guinea would be barred from all meetings until constitutional order was restored.

Capt Moussa Dadis Camara led a coup after the death of President Lansana Conte, who had ruled since 1984.

He has pledged to hold elections within a year, and to stamp out corruption.

While some of Guinea's neighbours have signalled their readiness to work with the new rulers, the African Union has also suspended Guinea from membership.

The United States has halted most of its monetary aid.

More than a third of the world's bauxite reserves are in Guinea, making it the second-largest producer internationally. It also has large reserves of gold, diamonds, iron and nickel.

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