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Civil war rivals strike deal on government

Rival factions in Guinea Bissau’s civil war agreed today (Tuesday) on the composition of a transitional government of national unity, a major plank in a peace accord that ended five months of civil war, news agencies reported. The deal was struck between Guinea Bissau President Joao Bernardo Vieira and rebel leader Ansumane Mane after hours of discussions that ended early today, Reuters said.

AFP reported that the self-styled Military Junta, the rebels, got its much sought after Ministry of Defence and Veteran Affairs. It also got the key economic and finance ministry, and those of social facilities, and internal administration. The Junta will also provide four of the seven secretaries of state. Vieira’s government gets the ministries of foreign affairs, justice and labour; agriculture, fisheries and natural resources; education, youth, culture and sport, as well as health and social welfare.

Reuters said that another major issue in the talks, the size of the West African intervention force, ECOMOG, to be deployed in Guinea Bissau, was still to be decided. The agency said the rebels want just 500 troops rather than the 1,500 stipulated in the Abuja peace accord. Deployment of ECOMOG would mean the immediate departure of Senegalese and Guinean troops that fought on the government side against the Junta.

This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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