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Burkina Faso talks agree one-year transition until polls in Nov 2015

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West African presidents urged Burkina Faso to appoint a civilian transitional leader within days to guide the country to elections next year following overthrow of Blaise Compaore

Burkina Faso’s army, political parties and civil society leaders agreed in crisis talks on Wednesday that the country’s political transition should last a year with elections to be held in November 2015.

The talks, mediated by three west African leaders and also attended by religious and tribal chiefs, failed to name a new leader to head a unity transition government.

But a statement after the meeting said all parties had agreed that an “eminent civilian personality” should head the transition.

Ghana’s President John Dramani Mahama, who mediated alongside his Nigerian counterpart Goodluck Jonathan and Senegal’s President Macky Sall, said he expected a transitional government to be put in place soon.

“I believe that… in days rather than weeks, we’ll be able to achieve an agreement and install a transitional government,” he said.

“Our intention was not to take names back to the ECOWAS summit,” he added, referring to an emergency meeting of African leaders due to be held in Accra on Thursday.

“It’s a decision for the people of Burkina Faso. They must be the ones to decide. Pain is still fresh in people’s mind.”

The trio of presidents had travelled to Ouagadougou to press for a swift handover of power back to civilians.

Burkina’s military last week appointed one of its own, Lieutenant-Colonel Isaac Zida, to run the country following the ouster of president Blaise Compaore in violent protests.

In scenes compared to the Arab Spring, Compaore was forced to flee the country after tens of thousands took to the streets and set parliament ablaze in anger at efforts to extend his 27-year rule.

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