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Burkina Faso: ECOWAS worried about the duration of transition

Burkina Faso: ECOWAS worried about the duration of transition
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NIPAH DENNIS/AFP or licensors

Burkina Faso

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has expressed worry about the three-year transition period in Burkina Faso, where the army took power at the end of January.

"ECOWAS is a bit worried about the duration of the transition. But the authorities have explained the reasons behind the decision of these 36 months," including "the security situation" in the country, said Ghana's foreign minister, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, who led a delegation to Ouagadougou on Thursday.

"ECOWAS is asking that the transitional government provide a clear roadmap of its activities for the next 36 months," she added. The ministerial delegation met with Burkina Faso's new president, Lieutenant Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba, who came to power in a coup on 24 January. ECOWAS suspended Burkina Faso from its membership following the coup.

"The problems affecting Burkina Faso are also our problems (...) it is not at this time when Burkina has needs that we will abandon it. Yes, Burkina is suspended from ECOWAS but it is still a member and we will continue to work together to bring normality to this great country," the Ghanaian minister said.

Jihadist movements

In the wake of Mali and Niger, Burkina Faso has been caught up in a spiral of violence since 2015 attributed to jihadist movements, affiliated to Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group, which have killed more than 2,000 people in the country and forced at least 1.7 million to flee their homes.

The length of transitions is at the heart of negotiations between countries in the region affected by the coups and ECOWAS, which is calling for them to be as short as possible. It has deemed "unacceptable" the five-year transition period demanded by Mali and is constantly asking Guinea for a timetable, which refuses to be imposed any time limit.

The delegation also met on Thursday with the overthrown president, Roch Marc Christian Kaboré, who has been under house arrest since the putsch and whose release it is calling for. We had a good discussion, he is in good spirits," said Shirley Ayorkor.

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