The mediator sent to Burkina Faso by the main political and economic bloc in West Africa, ECOWAS, Mahamadou Issoufou, said on Tuesday that he was satisfied with a meeting with the country’s new military leader. Ibrahim Traore.
Issoufou added that the 15-member bloc would continue to accompany Burkina Faso’s transition to constitutional rule after the country was hit by his second military take this year.
ECOWAS had repeatedly urged the board that took control on Friday to stick to a timetable agreed with its predecessors to return to constitutional rule in July 2024.
“We had very deep exchanges. Very frank exchanges,” Issoufou told reporters after meeting with religious leaders and Traore in the capital, Ouagadougou.
“I can assure you that ECOWAS will stand with the people of Burkina Faso…and the difficult challenge they face,” he added.
The Burkina Faso government issued a statement saying the meeting had taken place, but provided no further comment.
The meeting took place against a backdrop of protests in Ouagadougou that forced the delegation to stay at the airport instead of traveling to a conference room in the city center for security reasons, a diplomatic source said.
Dozens of protesters blocked access to the conference center on Tuesday morning to prevent the meeting from taking place, a Reuters reporter said.
The crowds remained relatively small and peaceful.
but they continued violent protests against France over the weekend that erupted after Traore said Damiba had taken refuge in a French military base, which France denied.
Some accused the bloc of siding with France, the former colonizer of Burkina Faso, and doing little to help the country confront a rampant Islamist insurgency that has killed hundreds, displaced thousands and driven besieged cities in the north to brink of famine.
Frustrations over growing insecurity prompted both the first military takeover in January and the last blow.