US hopeful of peaceful Burkina Faso transition

2014-10-31 12:17
Protesters pose with a police shield outside the parliament in Ouagadougou as cars and documents burn outside. (Issouf Sanogo, AFP)

Protesters pose with a police shield outside the parliament in Ouagadougou as cars and documents burn outside. (Issouf Sanogo, AFP)

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Washington - The United States on Thursday said it hoped for a peaceful transition of power in Burkina Faso following a violent uprising sparked by anger at President Blaise Compaore's 27-year reign.

The explosion of violence in Burkina Faso left around 30 people dead and 100 injured according to opposition figures, after tens of thousands protested Compaore's plans to extend his rule.

The government eventually withdrew legislation which would have altered the constitution to allow Compaore to run for an additional term.

US State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said in a statement Washington welcomed Compaore's decision to abandon his bid to seek another term.

Government of national unity

"We also welcome his decision to form a government of national unity to prepare for national elections and to transfer power to a democratically elected successor," Psaki said. "We look forward to that transition taking place in 2015.

"We regret the violence and the loss of life today in Burkina Faso, and call on all parties to avoid further violence.

"We underscore our commitment to peaceful transitions of power through democratic elections and emphasize neither side should attempt to change the situation through extra-constitutional means."

It remained unclear on Thursday who was in charge of the country, after the army announced it was seizing power and putting in place a transitional government.

Compaore later appeared on television, saying he would not resign but calling off a state of emergency he had imposed just a few hours earlier.

"I have heard the message," the president said, stating he was "available" for talks on "a period of transition after which power will be transferred to a democratically elected president."

Read more on:    blaise compaore  |  burkina faso  |  us  |  west africa

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