French minister accused in plot on Camara

Dec. 10, 2009 at 10:51 AM
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CONAKRY, Guinea, Dec. 10 (UPI) -- French leaders are denying reports from Guinea that France's foreign minister was involved in a plot to kill the leader of Guinea's ruling junta.

Junta spokesman Idrissa Cheriff said Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner "activated networks (to) change the situation" in the West African country, the BBC reported Thursday.

French government officials called the claims "completely groundless.

Military leader Moussa Dadis Camara is recovering after one of his soldiers shot him in the head last week.

Cherif told the BBC's "World Today" he was not saying the shooting was officially sanctioned by the French government.

"I wouldn't say that I am accusing France entirely. I said that certain services were used to make this attempt on Mr. Camara's life, and the regime ruling the country," Cherif said. "In the event, it's Mr. Bernard Kouchner. Mr. Kouchner activated some networks in order to change the situation here."

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Christine Farges said France doesn't want to engage in "any polemics with anyone in Guinea."

"The international community ... (is) waiting for Guinea to enter into a transition that is democratic and peaceful, and that will lead to free and fair elections as quickly as possible," she said.

Guinea has been in turmoil since the military took over last December just after the death of longtime ruler Lansana Conte. Camara initially pledged not to seek the presidency, but soon began hinting he would, leading to a large protest in a Conakry sports stadium. The rally was suppressed by the military with widespread reports of mass killings and rapes carried out by soldiers.

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