The head of the African Union (AU) has arrived in Burkina Faso for urgent talks on the west African country’s political transition following the ousting of veteran President Blaise Compaore.
“We have come to participate in a solution,” Mauritania’s president and current AU chairman Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz said on Monday, after talks with Lieutenant-Colonel Isaac Zida, the officer the army installed to lead the nation after Compaore fled.
Abdel Aziz was later due to meet opposition politicians, leaders of civil society and loyalists who had backed Compaore in office, the military said.
“The African Union has not come to sanction Burkina Faso,” Abdel Aziz said on emerging from private talks with Zida in a lounge at Ouagadougou airport, adding that a settlement will come from the Burkinabe people.
Though the military leadership rejected a recent ultimatum from the AU to stand down within a fortnight, Abdel Aziz urged all parties to go on working together “in tranquility, security and social peace”.
On Sunday, the opposition and civil society groups agreed on a blueprint for transition that provides for new elections in a year.
The deal now has to be negotiated with the military, which is under international pressure to stand down.
The opposition and civil society groups will now have to negotiate their transition blueprint with the army to lay the groundwork for the nomination of a transitional president and the return of civilian rule.
The current blueprint provides for elections in November 2015, with an interim civilian president, a 25-member government and a transitional parliament with 90 seats.
On November 3, the AU called on the Burkinabe army to return power to civilians within two weeks, but Zida, who has said he has not interest in staying in power, countered that such a schedule “is really no concern for us”.