Burkina army to join talks on post-uprising govt

Isaac Zida (C), named by Burkina Faso's army as interim leader, speaks during a press conference on November 6, 2014 in Ouagadougou (AFP Photo/Issouf Sanogo)

Ouagadougou (AFP) - Burkina Faso's army was on Friday invited to join talks with political parties and civil groups to forge an interim government after the country's long-serving ruler was toppled in a popular uprising.

The offer to the army, which took power following a vacuum created when president Blaise Compaore stepped down on October 31 after 27 years in power, was the latest twist in a tortuous process towards a transitional administration.

A source close to negotiations to define the "charter of transition" said the army had been invited to send two representatives.

The other players would be two people chosen by the opposition, two representatives of civil society and two others representing religious and traditional leaders.

The army's power grab has attracted international condemnation and threats of sanctions from the African Union if it does not hand over power within two weeks.

Lieutenant-Colonel Isaac Zida, second in command of the presidential guard, took over after Compaore fled the west African country following a mass uprising against his plans to revise the constitution and extend his rule. Zida has pledged to return power to civilians within a year.

According to a copy of the army's proposed transition charter seen by AFP, there would be a national transition council headed by a military figure and made up of 60 members from the army, civil society, the opposition and Compaore's party.

A civilian leader of an interim government would be chosen by traditional chiefs, the Catholic Church, Muslims, Evangelicals, the army and civil society.

None of those involved in the transition would take part in the ensuing presidential and legislative elections.

But the source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the army's proposals were unlikely to be accepted.

"We aren't happy with them at all," he said.

"Since the form of the transition has to be accepted by everybody, we have to hold discussions."

Proposals for the transition are due to be presented on Monday to mediators from the United Nations, the African Union and the ECOWAS west African regional bloc.

In a parallel development, west African leaders meeting in Ghana on the Burkina crisis warned against sanctions in view of the "ongoing regional efforts" to resolve the crisis.