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Ivory Coast Welcomes Ex-Burkinabe Leader


A soldier stands guard outside a building where a meeting between the military and opposition was taking place in Ouagadougou, capital of Burkina Faso, Nov. 2, 2014.
A soldier stands guard outside a building where a meeting between the military and opposition was taking place in Ouagadougou, capital of Burkina Faso, Nov. 2, 2014.

Ivory Coast's president says ousted Burkina Faso leader Blaise Compaore is in "good spirits" and says he is able to stay in the country for as long as he wants.

Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara says it is natural for Ivory Coast to welcome Compaore following what he called the "painful events" in Burkina Faso. Ouattara said Compaore is anxious for peace to be re-established in his country after Compaore resigned in the face of protests.

"I found [Compaore] in good spirits, physically in good form, [and] concerned by what happens in his country," Ouattara said, adding the ousted leader is also "impatient that peace is re-established, and that the Burkinabe learn how to talk to each other again and live together and prepare for democratic elections."

French President Francois Hollande confirmed Tuesday that France helped Compaore flee the country.

"We were able to facilitate things and allow a stable transition and we made sure that President Compaore — he was then no longer the president — was evacuated to the Ivory Coast," Hollande said. "We did this with the accord of other African countries to avoid drama and other convulsions."

Opposition leaders in Burkina Faso said Tuesday the country's new military ruler, Lieutenant Colonel Isaac Zida, has promised to quickly hand power to a civilian transitional government.

"Lieutenant-Colonel Zida and his delegation came to say that they want to hand power over to civilians and we encourage them to move in this direction," the king of the country's majority Mossi ethnic group, Naba Baongo II, told reporters after a meeting with Zida.

"The country must regain its peace and calm," he added.

Earlier Tuesday, opposition leaders called off protests as they continued to hold talks with the military leadership on forming a "national consensus" government.

Opposition leader Zephirin Diabre said the army has promised to soon present a document outlining a transition process.

The military took control Friday after Compaore resigned in the face of protests against his effort to amend the constitution to allow him to run for another term.

The opposition says Lt. Col. Zida told them he will lift his suspension of Burkina Faso's constitution, which would lead to a constitutional council asking all sides to propose an interim leader.

The African Union has joined the opposition in saying a new interim leader must be a civilian.

The AU Peace and Security Council said Monday the military has two weeks to return power to a civilian transitional government, "or else."

There were no reports of unrest Tuesday in the capital, Ouagadougou, a day after protests against the military. Demonstrators Sunday called on Zida to step down. One person was killed when soldiers fired on a crowd at the state television station.
Some material for this report came from Reuters.

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