News24

Ecowas troops 'best for Guinea'

2009-12-17 17:34

Paris - The Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) would be the best choice if any foreign peacekeeping force is to be sent to troubled Guinea, a senior UN official said on Thursday.

"It is not the (United Nations') Secretariat who decides on the sending of a peacekeeping operation, it's the Security Council," France's Alain Le Roy told the French parliamentary foreign affairs committee.

"To my knowledge, the Security Council is not for the moment considering this this idea," he added. Le Roy is the head of the UN's peacekeeping operations.

"It seems to me - and this is a personal opinion - that in the first place, in Guinea... Ecowas' African force of 6 500 men could intervene," he said.

"They are the forces who could intervene most quickly in Guinea because they are close by," said Le Roy.

On Monday, Guinea's military junta rejected the idea of foreign troops, which the international community there wanted to protect civilians from violence in the west African country.

Junta spokesperson Colonel Moussa Keita said it would be considered "a declaration of war".

His comments came after a weekend meeting of the International Contact Group on Guinea renewed its appeal for a foreign force there.

The group includes the UN, the European Union (EU), African Union (AU) as well as the Economic Community of West African States.