Burkina Faso diplomat chosen as interim leader

AP News
Posted: Nov 17, 2014 7:32 PM

OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso (AP) — Burkina Faso's former ambassador to the United Nations is slated to be in charge of a civilian transitional government after the military briefly seized control of the country last month.

Michel Kafando, 72, was named early Monday as transitional president to lead Burkina Faso until elections a year from now.

Kafando's nomination must be validated by the country's highest court.

For nearly three decades, Burkina Faso was ruled by President Blaise Compaore, who fled office earlier this month amid rising opposition protests.

A military colonel briefly took control though agreed to the transition amid pressure from the international community. It is not immediately clear what role he may play in the new government.

Kafando said early Monday he understands "the immensity of the task" before him.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon congratulated the people of Burkina Faso on the signing of the Charter of the Transition and on Kafando's appointment.

U.N. deputy spokesman Farhan Haq said the U.N. chief looks forward to the early appointment of the transitional prime minister and other transition members.

The United Nations will work with the African Union, the West African regional group ECOWAS, and international partners to support Burkina Faso to complete arrangements for the transition and during the next year leading to elections in November 2015, Haq said.