Mauritanian coup leaders, opposition, agree end to crisis
The agreement involves the resignation of the Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi, the president toppled in the August 6 coup last year; the formation of a national unity government; and a presidential election on July 18.
All the major parties will run candidates in the newly declared election.
The deal effectively postpones the election that the ruling junta had planned for Saturday, in which ex-junta leader Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz was running at the head of a pro-coup party a0gainst three little-known candidates.
As the ceremony took place, dozens of women chanted Aziz's name and waved pictures of him in the air.
Representatives of the pro-coup party now led by the ex-junta leader and the opposition group opposed to the coup all signed the agreement.
The deal came hours after Mauritania's former prime minister, Yahya Ould Ahmed Waghf, was freed after six months in detention in the wake of the military coup.
Ould Ahmed Waghf, ousted by the putschists in August, walked out of Nouakchott's biggest prison, Dar Naim, to be greeted by a large crowd. Three other detainees were released with him.
The release of Waghf was one of the conditions laid down by the opposition in the west African nation during talks to end the crisis.
Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade, who was closely involved in the negotiation process from the start, presided over the signing of the agreement at the capital's convention centre.
Other signatories included witnesses from the international community, including representatives from the African Union, the European Union, the Arab League and the Organisation of the Islamic Conference.
Copyright (c) 2009 Agence France Presse
Received by NewsEdge Insight: 06/04/2009 18:18:17
©AFP: The information provided in this product is for personal use only. None of it may be reproduced in any form whatsoever without the express permission of Agence France-Presse.