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Burkina Faso mediators lament lack of dialogue post-coup

Ahmed Auoba, AFP | ECOWAS chairman Sall (left) and Diendéré (right) during talks in Ouagadougou on September 18, 2015

Senegal President Macky Sall on Saturday lamented a "lack of dialogue" in the Burkina Faso crisis as mediators entered a second day of talks over the coup in which an elite military unit overthrew the transitional government and abducted its leaders.

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Soldiers from the elite presidential guard (RSP) stormed into a cabinet meeting on Wednesday and abducted interim president Michel Kafando and Prime Minister Zida, disrupting a transition period due to end with polls next month. General Gilbert Diendéré, a former spy chief, was named junta head the next day.

Sall, chairman of the regional ECOWAS body and who is mediating in the crisis, was on Saturday due to meet with members of former president Blaise Compaoré's party.

But after full day of fruitless meetings on Friday, Sall on Saturday lamented the “lack of dialogue” he had encountered thus far and called for "a dynamic of reconciliation" as the talks entered their second day.

There has been widespread speculation that Compaoré, who was ousted in an uprising last October, may have links to the coup leaders. But Diendéré, a former top aide to Compaoré, has said he is not in touch with the ex-president.

The African Union on Friday suspended the landlocked West African nation over the coup and threatened to slap coup leaders with sanctions unless they restored the interim government and released its leaders.

“[The] council decides to suspend, with immediate effect, the participation of Burkina Faso in all AU activities,” it said, adding that members of the RSP linked to the kidnappings would be held legally accountable for their actions.

The coup has also been condemned by the United States, former colonial power France and the United Nations.

On Friday, FRANCE 24 learned that deposed president Kafando was being held under house arrest at an undisclosed location.

Prior to the coup, Burkina Faso had been viewed as a model by pro-democracy campaigners across sub-Saharan Africa in which presidential and legislative elections had been scheduled for October 11.

In an exclusive interview with FRANCE 24 on Thursday, Diendéré said that new elections would be held as soon as possible.

“As soon as all the conditions have come together, we will be ready to return [to civilian rule]. We are not here to stay in power," he said, adding that Burkina Faso’s army supported the coup.

(FRANCE 24 with AP, AFP, REUTERS)

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