Burk­ina Faso’s re­turn to civil­ian rule hailed

The Star Early Edition - - WORLD -

AD­DIS ABABA: The AU yes­ter­day wel­comed the ap­point­ment of diplo­mat Michel Kafando as Burk­ina Faso’s in­terim pres­i­dent fol­low­ing the oust­ing of its veteran leader.

AU chief Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma praised the peo­ple of the West African state “for their po­lit­i­cal ma­tu­rity and sense of re­spon­si­bil­ity” and called for “a smooth tran­si­tion un­der the di­rec­tion of civil au­thor­i­ties”.

The ap­point­ment of the for­mer for­eign min­is­ter and UN am­bas­sador is set to end weeks of un­cer­tainty in the im­pov­er­ished coun­try after protests top­pled the 27year regime of pres­i­dent Blaise Com­paoré and the mil­i­tary seized power.

The nam­ing of the in­terim leader came be­fore a two-week dead­line the AU had given the coun­try’s army to re­turn the state to civil­ian rule.

Dlamini-Zuma said she “wel­comes the restora­tion of the con­sti­tu­tion” and the “sig­nif­i­cant progress” made to­wards civil­ian rule, re­peat­ing the AU’s com­mit­ment and support to the coun­try.

The 54-mem­ber bloc also called on the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity to support ef­forts to “deepen democ­racy” in the coun­try.

Kafando, who will have to be con­firmed by the Con­sti­tu­tional Coun­cil, pre­vi­ously served as the coun­try’s am­bas­sador to the UN from 1998 to 2011. He was also Burk­ina Faso’s for­eign af­fairs min­is­ter be­tween 1981 and 1982.

Mass un­rest erupted last month over Com­paoré’s bid to change the con­sti­tu­tion, which would have al­lowed him to ex­tend his 27-year rule of the land­locked for­mer French colony.

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