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Ghana’s Akufo-Addo to meet Guinea’s sanction-hit junta

CONAKRY (Reuters) – Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo will travel to Guinea on Friday to meet its new junta leaders, a day after the regional bloc he chairs sanctioned them for ousting President Alpha Conde and demanded a swift return to constitutional rule.

The 15-member Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) agreed at a summit in Ghana on Thursday to freeze the financial assets and impose travel bans on junta members and their relatives, and demanded Conde’s unconditional release.

It was the bloc’s toughest response yet to the military takeover in which soldiers from an elite special forces unit seized control of Guinea’s presidential palace and detained Conde after a long gunfight with his presidential guard.

ECOWAS is under pressure to steer Guinea back to constitutional order after coups in Mali and Chad earlier this year raised fears of a democratic backslide in a region that was starting to shed it’s “coup-belt” reputation.

“We are required to take informed decisions on these matters that will have long-term consequences for the stability and the defence of the democratic values of our region,” Akufo-Addo said in his opening address to the summit.

Following the announcement, a junta representative said on Guinean state television that a group of ECOWAS leaders would visit the capital Conakry on Friday for talks with the coup’s leadership.

The representative did not respond to the sanction order.

The visit will come as the coup leaders wrap up a week of consultations with the country’s various public figures and business leaders to map out a framework for a transitional government.

(Reporting by Christian Akorlie; Writing by Cooper Inveen; Editing by David Clarke)

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