EU pulls out of Guinea-Bissau mission
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The European Union said on Monday it was ending a military reform mission to Guinea-Bissau, in protest against the appointment of the leader of a military coup as the west African country’s new army chief.
EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton expressed “dismay” last month at the appointment of General Antonio Indjai, who she said was responsible for a mutiny that overthrew the former army chief in April.
Launched in 2008, “the EU security sector reform mission in Guinea-Bissau, having completed its mandate, will close down on 30 September 2010,” the EU said in a statement.
“Political instability and the lack of respect for the rule of law in the country make it impossible for the EU to deploy a follow-up mission, as originally foreseen, without compromising its own principals,” it charged.
The troubled west African nation has been plagued by coups since independence from Portugal in 1974 and instability has attracted South American drug cartels who now use the country as a transit point to Europe.
Indjai's nomination "constitutes another setback to the process of democratic consolidation and confirms that the conditions for deployment of the new mission are not met," it said.
Ashton called following the April mutiny for a full review of the EU's engagement in Guinea-Bissau, which falls under a June 2000 treaty between the EU and 79 developing countries.
The Cotonou Agreement conditions EU economic and development aid on the respect of certain criteria including political rights.
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