US `deeply concerned` by Burkina Faso crisis

The United States warned Thursday that it was "deeply concerned" about the crisis unfolding in Burkina Faso and criticized a bid by the West African country`s president to alter the constitution.

Washington: The United States warned Thursday that it was "deeply concerned" about the crisis unfolding in Burkina Faso and criticized a bid by the West African country`s president to alter the constitution.

"We believe democratic institutions are strengthened when established rules are adhered to with consistency," the White House said, after protesters set fire to the parliament in Ouagadougou.

Protests erupted in Burkina Faso after supporters of President Blaise Compaore attempted to alter the constitution to remove term limits and allow him to stand for election to extend his 27-year-rule.

On Thursday, amid widespread unrest, demonstrators broke through a security cordon and set parliament ablaze before confronting soldiers guarding a route to the presidential palace. 

The White House statement, issued by National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan, urged all parties to act peacefully but blamed the unrest on the attempt to change election rules.

"The United States is deeply concerned about the deteriorating situation in Burkina Faso, resulting from efforts to amend the constitution to enable the incumbent head of state to seek another term after 27 years in office," she said. 

"We call on all parties, including the security forces, to end the violence and return to a peaceful process to create a future for Burkina Faso that will build on Burkina Faso`s hard-won democratic gains."

The Burkina Faso government has called off the parliamentary vote on changing the constitution, but it was not immediately clear if this was a temporary concession or an admission of defeat.

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