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Burkina deadline dropped

12 November 2014, 06:56

Ouagadougou- The African Union is still urging a transfer of power from the army to a transitional government in Burkina Faso, but is no longer threatening the country with sanctions if the handover is not done within two weeks, Radio France Internationale and local media reported on Tuesday.

During a visit to Ouagadougou on Monday, AU president Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz said he had not come to "threaten" or "impose" anything.

"We are there to accompany our Burkinabe brothers so that they themselves find a solution" after the ousting of president Blaise Compaore on 31 October, RFI quoted Abdel Aziz as saying.

Senegalese President Macky Sall, who was chosen by the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) as its contact person for Burkina Faso, and Togo's Faure Gnassingbe arrived in Ouagadougou on Tuesday. Their programme was not immediately made public.

Also Read: Time running out for deal on Burkina transition govt – AU chief
"We are of the opinion that the transition needs to be headed by a civilian person and that it must last twelve months. For structuring the [transitional] organs, we are continuing talks," military leader Isaac Zida told journalists.

The AU had previously threatened the West African country with sanctions unless Zida handed power over to civilians within two weeks, after massive protests forced Compaore to flee to Ivory Coast.

Zida downplayed the deadline and said it was more important to reach a consensus on how to organize the transitional period leading up to elections in November next year.

No immediate sanctions

AU envoy to Burkina Faso, Edem Kodjo, said there would be no "immediate" sanctions and that the country would be given time to organize the transition, Burkina24 website reported.

Talks about the transition were ongoing. Opposition parties and civil society groups on Monday handed the army their proposal for a transitional charter.

Also Read: AU chief in Burkina Faso for transition talks

The charter says the transitional president must be a civilian and that the government must have a civilian majority, interpreted as meaning it will also include members of the army.

The charter also foresees a 90-member transitional parliament where 10 seats would be reserved for the military.

The army has repeatedly said it does not want to hold on to power.

Compaore's critics accused him of having monopolized economic power during his 27-year rule.



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