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Burkina Faso Leader Rejects AU Demand on Relinquishing Power

Lieutenant Colonel Isaac Zida meets with opposition leaders in Ouagadougou, capital of Burkina Faso, Nov. 2, 2014.

Burkina Faso's army-appointed leader has rejected a demand from the African Union that he return power to a civilian-led government within two weeks or risk sanctions.

Lieutenant Colonel Isaac Zida said Thursday that "a council of elders" would select what he called an "eminent civilian personality" to lead the transitional government before elections next November.

However, he said the process would not be rushed, either by international pressure or the growing unrest within Burkina Faso since the military seized power a week ago.

"We are not afraid about the sanctions," Zida said, adding that stability for the "peaceful Burkina people" was more important. "Sanctions is not really our matter at this time."

West African leaders

The agreement on a transitional government was reached with the help of the presidents of Ghana, Nigeria and Senegal, who arrived Wednesday in the capital, Ouagadougou.

A reporter for VOA on the scene said the heads of state asked politicians, religious leaders and civil society groups to each name three candidates to lead the transitional government.

The United States continued Thursday to call for a civilian-led transition in Burkina Faso.

Deposed President Blaise Compaore, whose resignation Friday ended his 27-year rule, is now in Ivory Coast. Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara said this week that Compaore was welcome to stay for as long as he wished.

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