Guinea’s post-coup prime minister, Mohamed Beavogui, has met with parties, trade unions and civil society groups to discuss the country’s return to civilian rule.

The West African country has been ruled by military leaders since Colonel Mamady Doumbouya overthrew President Alpha Conde last September.

The junta has said it will take three years to restore democratic civilian rule.

In remarks to the meeting on Monday, Beavogui said the talks aimed at establishing a dialogue for a “peaceful transition towards a return of constitutional order.”

“Only an inclusive approach, modified for the Guinean context, will make it possible to lay the groundwork for the harmony to which we all aspire,” he said.

The meeting came ahead of a summit this Sunday of the 15-nation Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

The bloc’s leaders are to decide whether to extend economic sanctions imposed after the coup.

Two previous attempts at dialogue have taken place since the start of the year.

But they were boycotted by several organisations, including the National Alliance for Alternation and Democracy (ANAD) and the National Front for the Defence of the Constitution (FNDC).

Both ANAD and the FNDC attended Monday’s meeting.

The FNDC, which had organised mass demonstrations against Conde from 2019 to 2021, had suspended a call for a street protest last Thursday over the length of the transition period.

The demonstration would have defied a ban by the junta, raising fears of violence.

But the FNDC declared a week-long “truce” with the authorities to “give a chance” to dialogue.

It also said that “the acceptance of an ECOWAS mediator” was a prerequisite for its participation in talks.

The former ruling Rally for the Guinean People (RPG), which backed Conde, refused to join talks.

It had made its participation conditional on the release of jailed party cadres and an end to what it described as the arrests and persecution of political leaders.

Beavogui closed the session by asking participants “to send in their contributions” by Friday, but set no new meeting dates.

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© Agence France-Presse