The UN Security Council expressed “concern” about Burkina Faso, but stopped short of calling it a “coup”.

The UN Security Council on Wednesday expressed “grave concern” about the “unconstitutional change of government” in Burkina Faso last month, but chose not to describe it as a military coup or even to explicitly condemn it.

After negotiations described by diplomatic sources as difficult, the Council unanimously adopted their official declaration, which “taken note” of Burkina Faso’s suspension from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union “until constitutional order is quickly and effectively restored by the military authorities.”

An earlier copy of the document, obtained by AFP, called on the military council to “facilitate a rapid return to constitutional order” in Burkina Faso, but Russia rejected this request, according to a diplomat, who asked not to be identified.

In the approved declaration, the 15-member Security Council called for “the release and protection of President Roch Marc Christian Kabore and other government officials.”

He also expressed support for “regional mediation efforts” to resolve the crisis, following the launch of a joint mission to Burkina Faso by the Economic Community of West African States, the African Union and the United Nations Office for West Africa.

While UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres quickly and harshly condemned the military coup in January, the Security Council decided to wait for ECOWAS and the African Union to announce their official positions.

After an emergency meeting last Thursday in Ghana, the Economic Community of West African States decided not to impose sanctions on Burkina Faso, but called on the new leaders to present a timetable for a “reasonable return to constitutional order”.

Burkina Faso’s new strongman, Lieutenant-Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba, issued a presidential decree on Saturday setting up a committee tasked with planning a new national compact and setting a timetable for the transition.

(AFP)

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