President of western African nation Burkina Faso says not resigning despite army seizing power

Burkina Faso's President Blaise Compaore talks to the media at the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, in this file picture taken on Jan 28, 2011. Mr Compaore said on Thursday that he was not resigning and was open to talks about a transition o
Burkina Faso's President Blaise Compaore talks to the media at the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, in this file picture taken on Jan 28, 2011. Mr Compaore said on Thursday that he was not resigning and was open to talks about a transition of power, after the army dissolved the government and parliament following violent protests against the veteran leader. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

OUAGADOUGOU (AFP) - Burkina Faso's President Blaise Compaore said in a televised speech on Thursday that he was not resigning and was open to talks about a transition of power, after the army dissolved the government and parliament following violent protests against the veteran leader.

"I have heard the message," Compaore said, adding that he was "available" for talks on "a period of transition after which power will be transferred to a democratically elected president".

He added that he was cancelling a state of emergency declared hours earlier.

President Blaise Compaore was toppled on Thursday as the army took power after protesters set parliament ablaze in a popular uprising against the veteran leader's 27-year-rule of the West African state.

The demonstrators earlier forced the government to scrap a vote on controversial plans to allow Compaore to extend his reign, with tens of thousands of people joining a mass rally in the capital Ouagadougou calling for the strongman to go.

Hundreds of people stormed parliament and other public buildings including the national television headquarters, ransacking offices and setting fire to cars, despite a heavy police and army presence across the capital.

The army, in a hastily arranged press conference, announced it was seizing power and pledged to restore constitutional order within 12 months. It imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew and announced the dissolution of Compaore's government and the national assembly, and the creation of a transitional body to run the country.

The communique, read out by an officer, was signed by the army chief of staff Nabere Honore Traore.