Guinea: Background and Relations with the United States [November 24, 2010]   [open pdf - 369KB]

"The past two years have seen a series of deep changes in Guinea's political landscape, a new experience for a country that had only two presidents in the first 50 years after independence in 1958. In June 2010, Guineans voted in the country's first presidential election organized by an independent electoral commission and without an incumbent candidate. A presidential run-off poll was held in early November, but provisional results have yet to be certified by the Supreme Court. The election is expected to bring an end to two years of military rule, which began after a junta seized power in December 2008 following the death of Guinea's long-time president, Lansana Conté. Many Guineans and foreign diplomats also expect the election to provide a stepping-stone toward reforming state institutions and implementing the rule of law, considered a prerequisite for greater private sector investment and increased respect for human rights. At the same time, the election has sparked incidents of ethnic violence and reported abuses by security forces that could threaten the political transition. [...] U.S. interests and associated policy challenges in Guinea center on democratization and good governance; counternarcotics issues; security sector reform; bilateral economic interests and relations; regional peace and stability; and socioeconomic and institutional development. The United States suspended some development aid and all security assistance to Guinea in the wake of the 2008 coup. U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) governance and humanitarian assistance programs, which comprised a substantial portion of the U.S. aid budget in Guinea before the coup, were not affected by the suspension; nor were U.S. contributions toward Guinea's electoral process. In response to a military crackdown on opposition supporters in September 2009, the United States called for Dadis Camara to step down and announced targeted travel restrictions against National Council for Democracy and Development (CNDD) members and selected associates. After a military-led transitional government was formed in January 2010, some U.S. restrictions on security assistance were rolled back, and bilateral aid is expected to increase if the transition to elected government is completed."

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CRS Report for Congress, R40703
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