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Originally published Wednesday, May 6, 2009 at 11:50 PM

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Guinea recalls 30 ambassadors, from US to China

Guinea's ruling junta has recalled 30 ambassadors in cities from Washington to Beijing, nearly five months after seizing power when the West African country's longtime dictator died.

Associated Press Writer

CONAKRY, Guinea —

Guinea's ruling junta has recalled 30 ambassadors in cities from Washington to Beijing, nearly five months after seizing power when the West African country's longtime dictator died.

The military junta gave no reason for the diplomatic reshuffle, ordered by a presidential decree read on state television Tuesday night.

Almost all of Guinea's embassies abroad will be affected by the reshuffle, including those in Paris, London, Moscow, Cairo and Pretoria, South Africa. The Guinean representatives to the European Union and African Union were also included.

It is the first major diplomatic move by self-proclaimed president Capt. Moussa Dadis Camara since he seized power in a bloodless coup on Dec. 23, hours after dictator Lansana Conte died. Conte's inner circle had ruled Guinea for a quarter century.

Camara suspended the constitution, launched an anti-corruption crackdown and publicly interrogated officials of the former regime accused of drug trafficking and graft.

Guinea has an abundance of gold, copper, diamonds and bauxite, the raw material used to make aluminum. But despite its mineral wealth, the country remains one of the world's poorest.

In 2006, Transparency International rated it Africa's most corrupt country, and many officials routinely traversed the capital's potholed roads in imported SUVs and lived in glitzy, seaside villas.

Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company

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