Canada takes measures against Guinean regime

News and Press Release
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(No. 393 - December 18, 2009 - 1:45 p.m. EST) The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, remains concerned over the situation in Guinea, and today announced that Canada will take measures, in conformity with the intentions of the International Contact Group on Guinea, to maintain pressure on the Guinean regime to find a solution acceptable to all Guineans.

"I am very concerned at indications that the crisis in Guinea is worsening," said Minister Cannon. "The violence on December 3, 2009, and the brutal repression of civilians during political demonstrations in Conakry on September 28 are unacceptable and contribute to the increasing climate of insecurity in Guinea.

"Canada, along with the international community, has already strongly condemned the use of violence, especially sexual violence against women, during the events of September 28, 2009. We continue to support the promotion and protection of freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law in Guinea. The instability in Guinea threatens the stability of the entire sub-region.

"Canada announces a ban on the export from Canada to Guinea of all military and strategic items intended for use by the armed forces, police or other governmental agencies of Guinea.

"To prevent Canada from becoming a haven for perpetrators of human rights violations, visa applications from Guinea are being processed with enhanced scrutiny. In November, Canada also imposed a moratorium on any staff increases at Guinea's embassy to Canada.

"We await with great interest the report of the UN International Commission of Inquiry. Furthermore, we support the International Criminal Court's preliminary investigation of the situation."

The Honourable Josée Verner, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister for La Francophonie, also commented on the situation.

"Canada welcomes the full suspension of Guinea from La Francophonie, in conformity with the Bamako Declaration, as decided during the 74th Session of the Permanent Council of La Francophonie on December 14, 2009, and endorsed by the Ministerial Conference of La Francophonie at its 25th Session on December 15 and 16, 2009," said Minister Verner.

"The Government of Canada remains convinced of the need for multilateral efforts to put an end to this crisis, and supports strong African engagement. Canada is a member of the International Contact Group on Guinea co-chaired by the Economic Community of West African States and the African Union. Canada supports the measures announced in the final communiqué of the Ninth Session of the Contact Group, held in Ouagadougou on December 13. In particular, Canada reiterates the call for the immediate establishment of a new consensual transitional authority."

Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada advises against all travel to Guinea. Canadians currently in the country are advised to leave if possible. For more information, please visit Travel Report - Guinea.

For further information, media representatives may contact:

Natalie Sarafian
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Foreign Affairs Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada

Martin Paquet
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister for La Francophonie