October 12, 2015 / 6:44 PM / 2 years ago

Latest attempt to end Guinea-Bissau's political crisis collapses

Guinea-Bissau's President Jose Mario Vaz arrives to speak with journalists after a meeting with his Portuguese counterpart Anibal Cavaco Silva (not pictured) at Belem presidential palace in Lisbon June 19, 2014.Rafael Marchante

BISSAU (Reuters) - Guinea-Bissau's prime minister said talks with the president aimed at forming a new government and ending two months of political deadlock had collapsed on Monday.

A row between President Jose Mario Vaz and his long-standing rival Domingos Simoes Pereira led to Pereira's dismissal as prime minister, along with his government, on Aug. 12.

Two prime ministers have since been named. The first appointed a cabinet but the government was rejected on legal grounds by the supreme court in September. The second cabinet was rejected by Vaz.

Many observers fear the chaos will halt reform of the army, responsible for a number of coups since the late 1990s, and lead to a revival in drugs trafficking in a country that became a major cocaine transit point after the last coup, in 2012.

"For now, there will be no government because the head of state insists that certain names need to be removed from the list and I won't accept it," Prime Minister Carlos Correia told reporters as he left a meeting with Vaz at the presidential palace.

The West African regional body ECOWAS sent former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo on a second mediation trip this weekend but no progress was made and his visit was cut short, political sources said.

Correia has submitted virtually the same list of proposed ministers to the president at least twice.

A copy of the list seen by Reuters showed that more than half of the names were members of the government that Vaz dismissed, including Pereira, former Finance Minister Geraldo Martins and former Interior Minister Botche Cande.

Reporting by Alberto Dabo and Alberto Coiate; Additional reporting and writing by Emma Farge; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg and Tom Brown

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