Burkina Faso leaders meet to discuss transition

Opposition leaders and members of civil society met on Thursday in Burkina Faso to establish ground rules for a transitional government and what they expect from its leader.

Ouagadougou: Opposition leaders and members of civil society met on Thursday in Burkina Faso to establish ground rules for a transitional government and what they expect from its leader.

The desperately poor West African country's president of 27 years, Blaise Compaore, resigned last week amid mounting opposition to his bid to seek yet another term in office. Compaore never identified a potential successor and his departure created a power vacuum that the military has filled, at least temporarily.

International envoys are pressing Burkina Faso to quickly designate a civilian leader for a transitional period until new elections can be held, and the African Union has threatened sanctions if that doesn't happen soon.

Talks yesterday failed to designate a leader, but diplomats said some progress had been made: All sides have agreed that the transition should last one year and elections should be held in November 2015.

"I believe that in days, rather than in weeks, we will be able to reach an agreement and install a transitional government," Ghana's president, John Dramani Mahama, said late yesterday after meetings ended. "I am certain that we will not reach the stage where the international community will have to impose sanctions."

Mahama, who currently chairs the regional bloc of West African states, known as ECOWAS, was mediating talks along with the presidents of Senegal and Nigeria.

Today, the opposition and other prominent leaders met to determine their criteria for a transitional leader and to describe how they would like the transitional period to proceed.

ECOWAS is holding an emergency meeting today to discuss the crisis in Burkina Faso as well as the Ebola outbreak.

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