The inauguration of Burkina Faso's new president marks a significant development for the whole sub-Saharan Sahel region on the path away from tension and disputed elections, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has said, also commending the opposition for their prompt acceptance of the election results.
"The successful completion of elections in Burkina Faso is a significant development not only for the country but also for the Sahel region, where socioeconomic hardship and contested electoral processes continue to be a source of tension, and at a time when terrorist groups, illicit trafficking and irregular migration continue to threaten regional security," he stressed in a congratulatory message yesterday to President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré.
Mr. Kaboré's inauguration completes the transition following the end last year of the 27-year rule of a former president, Blaise Compaoré, who resigned after thousands of protesters took to the streets of Ouagadougou, the capital, amid deadly violence that included the ransacking of Government buildings and the state television headquarters.
"This is a historic moment for Burkina Faso," Mr. Ban said in his message. "I commend the country's people and political leaders for their exemplary conduct and peaceful and responsible participation during the vote of 29 November that successfully marked the end of the transition period.
"I would also like to take the opportunity to praise the opposition leaders, who promptly offered their congratulations to the President-elect.
"I also commend His Excellency Mr. [Michel] Kafando and all transitional authorities for their tireless efforts to ensure the holding of the presidential and legislative elections in a timely manner, and for the statesmanship they demonstrated during the transition process, particularly in overcoming the many challenges and difficulties that emerged during that period," he added.
Noting that many priorities and formidable challenges await the new Government, including an inclusive national reconciliation process and security sector reform, the Secretary-General pledged continued UN commitment "to supporting you along the path of peace, democratic governance and equitable socioeconomic development."
The UN will also continue to work closely with regional organizations such as the African Union, the Economic Community of West African States and the Lake Chad Basin Commission to help the Sahel tackle the root causes of instability with regard to security, governance and resilient livelihoods.