Guinea commander must resign: opposition

Guinea's main opposition coalition is calling on the country's military leader to step down before opening talks with the ruling junta.

Guinea's main opposition coalition is calling on the country's military leader to step down before opening talks with the ruling junta.

Ba Oury, a leading opposition official, said Wednesday that talks would not go forward until junta leader Capt. Moussa (Dadis) Camara left office.

Oury and other opposition leaders are also calling for the arrest of soldiers who fired at pro-democracy protesters last week.

Local human rights groups said 157 people were killed and more than 1,200 people were wounded last week when soldiers opened fire during a protest at a stadium in the West African country's capital, Conakry. Government officials put the toll at 57 people.

Burkina Faso's President Blaise Compaore, appointed by a regional bloc of African states to mediate the talks, met with both sides on Monday.

Analyst Abdul Gadr Diallo from the Guinea Forum think-tank said the opposition group's conditions "will make the task of President Compaore even more difficult."

African leaders threaten sanctions

The African Union had suspended Guinea's membership after Camara seized power in Guinea last December in a bloodless coup following the death of longtime dictator Lansana Conte.

The opposition protest last week came after Camara suggested he could run in presidential elections Jan. 31 after initially pledging that he would not run.

After the protest he banned all demonstrations and gatherings.

The AU has threatened sanctions against Guinea over Camara's plans to run for the presidency, and called on the leader to allow for a return to civilian rule.

The African Union condemned the West African nation's military for "the indiscriminate firing on unarmed civilians" during the demonstration.

U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton also condemned the government on Tuesday, and called for Camara to give up power. She said the U.S. would take "appropriate actions" against Guinea's government.

"Those who committed those acts should not be given any reason to expect that they will escape justice," she said.

With files from The Associated Press