Inaugural Meeting of International Follow-Up and Support Group for the Transition in Burkina Faso

By African Union Commission (AUC)
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ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, January 14, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- 1. The International Follow-up and Support Group for the Transition in Burkina Faso (GISAT-BF), established by the Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the African Union (AU), at its 468th meeting, which took place on 18 November 2014, held its inaugural meeting in Ouagadougou on 13 January 2015.

2. The meeting was co-chaired by Ambassador Smaïl Chergui, Commissioner for Peace and Security of the AU, Mr. Kadre Désiré Ouedraogo, President of the Economic Commission of West African States (ECOWAS), and Dr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas, Special Representative of the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General for West Africa. It was opened by the President of the Transition, Mr. Michel Kafando. The countries and organisations that participated in the meeting are listed below. (1)

3. The meeting afforded the GISAT-BF members the opportunity to discuss and exchange views with the Government of Burkina Faso and other stakeholders, including the Transitional National Council (CNT), political parties and civil society organizations, as well as between them, on the evolution of the situation in Burkina Faso since the event that took place on 31 October 2014, the implementation of the Transition and the mobilisation of the necessary international support to attain its set objectives. The meeting also made it possible to discuss the modalities of the functioning of the GISAT-BF, in order to effectively support the ongoing Transition.

4. Participants expressed their deep appreciation to all the stakeholders in the Transition and the people of Burkina Faso for the great political maturity and high sense of responsibility they demonstrated during the recent events that occurred in their country, and which led to a twelve-month Transition. In this regard, they noted with satisfaction the adoption of the Transitional Charter, the consensual appointment of the President of the Transition, the formation of the Government and the establishment of the CNT, as well as the initiatives taken since the beginning of the Transition.

5. Participants encouraged the leaders and the people of Burkina Faso to persevere in their efforts and to continue to act in a spirit of inclusive participation and reconciliation among all segments of society, in order to successfully complete the Transition, whose main objective is to organise free, fair and credible elections that will allow the Burkinabe people to choose their leaders. Participants were briefed on the steps envisaged as part of the implementation of the Transition, including those relating to specific issues in response to the expectations of the Burkinabe people, it being understood that it will be up to the democratically-elected authorities at the end of the Transition to pursue and intensify the major reforms which Burkina Faso needs for its long-term stability, and further address issues relating to socio-economic development, justice, reconciliation and healing. They urged the people of Burkina Faso to continue to support the Transition with the same commitment and sense of responsibility.

6. Participants stressed the importance of the scrupulous respect of the Constitution and the Charter of the Transition, including the provisions relating to its duration and the eligibility criteria. In this regard, they took note of the intention announced by the Government to organize the presidential and legislative elections, in simultaneous poll, on 20 September 2015, and the local elections on 8 November 2015. They encouraged the stakeholders of the Transition to seize the opportunity of their forthcoming consultations to agree on a calendar, taking into account the deadline of 17 November 2015 marking the end of the Transition. They urged the various national stakeholders to quickly resolve the outstanding issues in the electoral process, bearing in mind the imperative need to organize free, fair and credible elections within the timeline allotted.

7. Participants welcomed the formal announcement by the authorities of the Transition of the first elements relating to the calendar of the elections and the related budget, to facilitate consultations with all the Burkina Faso parties and the early mobilization of the necessary resources. Having commended the Government of Burkina Faso for the mobilization of domestic resources, they made an urgent appeal to African organizations and countries, as well as to the international partners, to provide the necessary financial, technical and logistical support. They noted with satisfaction the deployment, by the United Nations, of a technical assessment mission. They also welcomed the expressed readiness of members of the GISAT-BF to support the Transition, and they agreed to announce, latest at the next meeting of GISAT-BF, the modalities and scope of their respective contributions to the electoral process. They urged the members of the international community concerned to take the necessary measures for the deployment of long and short term observation missions for the presidential and legislative elections.

8. Participants reaffirmed the need to establish the required conditions to enable all political and other stakeholders to participate fully in the process and lay the foundation for the necessary reconciliation among all the segments of the Burkinabe society. They called upon the authorities of the Transition to fully shoulder their responsibilities, particularly with respect to the safety and security of all the political actors, in scrupulous respect of the fundamental freedoms and the principles of the rule of law, as well as to continue to discharge their mandate with absolute neutrality.

9. Participants had an extensive exchange of views on the socio-economic situation in Burkina Faso. They stressed the need for the provision of adequate support, so as to better enhance the socio-economic development efforts, which are an indispensable pillar for the establishment of lasting peace, security and stability in Burkina Faso, in particular, and in the Sahel region, in general. They encouraged the relevant regional and international institutions, including the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA), the African Development Bank (AfDB), the European Union (EU), the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), as well as the United Nations, to take all necessary initiatives to increase economic and financial assistance to Burkina Faso. In this respect, they requested these institutions to provide at the next meeting of the GISAT-BF an update on the initiatives taken.

10. Participants stressed the need for a closely coordinated, rapid and effective international action to help the Burkinabe stakeholders address the challenges linked to the conduct of the Transition. They agreed that this action should be based on close articulation of efforts at different levels, within the framework of the GISAT-BF, co-chaired by the AU, ECOWAS and the UN, in close cooperation with the other members of the international community. In this regard, Participants agreed to:

(i) meet, at least once every two months, under the auspices of the AU, ECOWAS and the UN, in order to facilitate a concerted and effective international action to support the efforts of the Burkinabe stakeholders;

(ii) set up a local representation of the GISAT-BF, which would meet at least once every two weeks, to follow-up the conclusions of the GISAT-BF and prepare its regular meetings;

(iii) convene as necessary, at the initiative of the co-Chairs and in-between the regular meetings of the GISAT-BF, restricted meetings, depending on the issues to be considered, in Ouagadougou or at any other venue agreed upon by the co-Chairs; and

(iv) encourage the regular conduct of joint assessment missions by the GISAT-BF co-Chairs, with the involvement, as may be required, of other international stakeholders.

11. Participants thanked the AU, ECOWAS and the UN for taking the initiative to establish the GISAT-BF and to convene the present meeting. They expressed their gratitude to the Government of the Transition of Burkina Faso for its hospitality and cooperation. They agreed to convene their next meeting in the first half of March 2015, in Ouagadougou, at a date to be determined in consultation with the Government of Burkina Faso.

(1). Algeria, Angola, Benin, Canada, Côte d'Ivoire, Denmark, Egypt, France, Germany, Ghana, Japan, Libya, Luxemburg, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Russia, Senegal, Togo, Turkey, United States of America, AfDB, AU, CEN-SAD, ECOWAS, IMF, OIC, OIF, UE, UEMOA, UNDP, United Nations and World Bank