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West African Leaders Press for Transition in Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso's Lieutenant Colonel Isaac Zida (L) welcomes Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan (C) next to French Ambassador Gilles Thibault (R) upon their arrival at Ouagadougou airport, Nov. 5, 2014.

A delegation of West African leaders is in Burkina Faso, trying to defuse a political crisis set off by the departure of longtime President Blaise Compaore.

The presidents of Ghana, Nigeria and Senegal arrived Wednesday in Ouagadougou and went into meetings with Burkinabe political and religious leaders, including the country's military-appointed interim president, Lieutenant Colonel Isaac Zida.

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

Burkina Faso's military took control of the country Friday after Compaore resigned and fled the country following violent protests against an effort to extend his rule.

Zida has said several times that the military will quickly hand over power. On Monday, the African Union warned that Burkina Faso faced possible sanctions unless a civilian transitional government took power within two weeks.

The delegation of Ghanaian President John Mahama, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan and Senegalese President Macky Sall is operating under the banner of ECOWAS, the Economic Community of West African States.

ECOWAS says it will discuss the Burkina Faso situation at a summit in Ghana's capital of Accra on Thursday and Friday.

Before his resignation Friday, Compaore led Burkina Faso for 27 years. He is now in Ivory Coast, where Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara said Tuesday that Compaore was in "good spirits" and could stay as long as he wanted.

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