Russia calls for release of Guinea’s Conde

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MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia on Monday called for the immediate release of Guinean President Alpha Conde, who was ousted by soldiers on Sunday, joining other nations which denounced the coup.

Moscow has a long history of relationship with Conakry which goes back to trade and economic cooperation during the Soviet times and is currently focused mainly on the metals business.

“Moscow opposes any attempt at unconstitutional change of leadership,” the foreign ministry said in a statement. “We demand the release of Mr Conde and a guarantee of his immunity. We consider it necessary to return the situation in Guinea to constitutional norms as soon as possible.”a man riding on the back of a truck: Residents cheers army soldiers as they celebrate the uprising in Conacry© Reuters/STRINGER Residents cheers army soldiers as they celebrate the uprising in Conacry

Soldiers, who appear to have Conde in detention, summoned his ministers and top government officials to a meeting on Monday, adding that failure to attend would be considered a “rebellion”.

The takeover in the West African nation that holds the world’s largest bauxite reserves, used to produce aluminium, sent prices of the metal to a 10-year high on Monday. There was no indication of any supply disruption yet.

Prices for aluminium ore bauxite from Guinea also hit their highest in almost 18 months in top metals consumer China.

Russia’s Rusal, the world’s third largest aluminium producer, operates three bauxite mines and one alumina refinery in Guinea. The bauxite mines in Guinea account for 42% of Rusal’s total bauxite capacity.

Rusal did not respond to a Reuters’ request for comment on Monday.

Russia-focused producer Nordgold operates the Lefa gold mine in Guinea, which accounted for 17% of Nordgold’s total production in 2020.

“Nordgold remains unaffected by the current political situation in Guinea and our mine site continue to operate as normal… We are monitoring the situation closely,” Nordgold said in a statement on Monday.

(Reporting by Polina Devitt; Editing by Kevin Liffey and Emelia Sithole-Matarise) AdChoices

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