Burkina Faso talks edge forward after Blaise Compaore blasts `plot`
Burkina Faso`s political parties and civil society groups worked on Sunday to adopt a transition plan for the west African country after the ousting of veteran president Blaise Compaore.
Ouagadougou: Burkina Faso`s political parties and civil society groups worked on Sunday to adopt a transition plan for the west African country after the ousting of veteran president Blaise Compaore.
Talks on forming a transition government began Saturday with the army at first declining to join, while Compaore -- speaking for the first time since his dramatic fall -- accused military and political opponents of jointly plotting his overthrow.
Opposition leader Zephirin Diabre, who chaired the meeting, said "we are coming to the end" of the drafting procedure, amid expectations that the final version could be formally adopted on Sunday.
The document would then be submitted to the military authorities for delicate talks to arrive at an agreed plan.
Participants in the talks have spoken of a proposal including a transition assembly of 90 members, dominated by the opposition and civil society representatives, with the military also given a role. It was also said to include an interim government and president -- though it was not yet clear who would fill the role of interim head of state.
In a sign of the shockwaves that events in the country have sent across west Africa, the leaders of Equatorial Guinea -- ruled since 1979 by President Teodoro Obiang Nguema -- have reportedly banned the media there from mentioning the revolt.
Around 60 representatives of Burkina Faso`s political parties and civil society met in the capital Ouagadougou to hammer out a handover plan, after Compaore fled on October 31 following an uprising against his bid to revise the constitution and extend his 27-year rule.
The army, who named Lieutenant Colonel Isaac Zida to head the country, had first refused to take part in the talks. They later sent a delegation led by Zida`s right-hand man, Colonel August Denise Barry, who made a brief appearance at the discussions.
Barry told the conference that the army has no intention of holding on to power, saying that "things can no longer be like before", alluding to the country`s history of military coups, according to civilian delegates.
Earlier, Zida had told a delegation from the talks that members of Compaore`s political party should also be included in the discussions, which the other parties have so far refused to allow.
"For the purpose of reconciliation and reconstruction, one cannot exclude a party of the people," Zida said, according to one of the delegates.
The army`s power grab has attracted international condemnation and threats of sanctions from the African Union unless it hands over power within two weeks.
Bisa Williams, US Deputy Assistant Secretary for African Affairs, reiterated calls for a democratic transition after talks Saturday with Zida in the capital.
"We`re counting on respect for the (army`s) promise to put in place a democratic transition government which is led by a civilian," Williams said.Washington and Paris have been pressuring the military to quickly carry out elections.
The civilian groups have already agreed that the transition should last one year and that it should be led by a civilian before presidential and legislative elections take place by November 2015.
But there has been no agreement on the person to head the transition.
Transition plans were due to be presented Monday to African Union chief Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz when the Mauritanian president visits Ouagadougou to keep up pressure on the military to hand over power.
From his exile in neighbouring Ivory Coast, Compaore meanwhile accused the opposition of plotting a coup with the army, in an interview published Saturday.
"We knew for a long time that part of the opposition was working with the army. Their aim: to prepare a coup d`etat," Compaore told Jeune Afrique magazine.
"They wanted me to leave. I left. History will tell us if they were right," said the 63-year-old, who first took power in a 1987 coup.
As for Zida, Compaore said the lieutenant colonel was in a position that he would "not wish for his worst enemy".
And in Equatorial Guinea, where Nguema is Africa`s second longest serving leader after 35 years in power, a journalist at the state broadcaster, who asked not to be named, told AFP that staff were ordered not to report the fall of Compaore.