Burkina Faso President Thanks UN Over Release

United Nations (United States) (AFP) - Taking the podium at the United Nations just weeks after a failed coup, Burkina Faso's president expressed gratitude Friday for international support and promised elections.

Michel Kafando and members of his interim government were jailed by the coup leaders who came under heavy pressure from abroad to release them and restore the transitional authorities to power.

"Dear friends of the international community, it's thanks to you... that I can speak freely before you," Kafando said in his address to the UN General Assembly.

"It would have been unthinkable just two weeks ago, when I was sitting in the jail during the military sedition."

General Gilbert Diendere, the leader of the short-lived, September 17 coup, turned himself in on Thursday after seeking refuge at the Vatican ambassador's residence in Ouagadougou.

"The people of Burkina Faso have asked me to convey to you our deepest gratitude," Kafando said.

The president urged world governments to continue to support Burkina Faso on the path to democracy and said "free and transparent elections will be organized soon."

General elections were initially set for October 11, but have been postponed for at least several weeks.

The highly anticipated vote is set to complete the transition to democratic rule after the October 2014 uprising against President Blaise Compaore's rule.

On the ground, authorities shortened the curfew for the second time since it was imposed during the abortive coup.

Citizens are now barred from leaving their homes from 1:00 am to 4:00 am, according to a statement citing the security minister, who urged Burkinabes to "remain vigilant."

( AFP )
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