The 15 members of the African Union Peace and Security Council have urged quick and inclusive talks to solve Burundi’s year-long crisis, the Council said while concluding a four-day visit in Burundi.
“For four days, we have met various groups and authorities including the Burundian president, religious groups, civil society organizations, the UN system and diplomats accredited in Burundi. All Burundian stakeholders said that they need a quick solution to the crisis,” Lazare Makayat Safouesse, head the African Union Peace and Security Council delegates, said.
According to him, all groups expressed “urgency” of an inclusive dialogue to settle Burundi’s year-long crisis.
“The internal dialogue that is ending in four months can feed the dialogue at the external level under the mediation of the East African Community (EAC), with Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni as the main mediator and former Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa as the co-facilitator,” said Safouesse.
He commended the recent visit by Mkapa in Brussels, Belgium where he met Burundian citizens who had been unable to attend the inter-Burundian dialogue held in May in Arusha, Tanzania.
“Dialogue is not done between friends. We hope that Burundian citizens will show their maturity as it was the case when they reached the 2000 Arusha Agreement,” said Safouesse.
He noted that the security situation has “positively” progressed.
Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza met with members of the AU Peace and Security at Makamba chief town in the province of Makamba, some 200 km south of the Burundian capital Bujumbura.
With regards to the deployment of 100 troops and 100 human rights monitors recommended in February after a visit in Burundi of an AU high level delegation of heads of state, Safouesse indicated that the deployment “has not yet been possible”, adding that discussions are still underway between the AU and the government of Burundi for their deployment.
He said, “We hope that there will be an agreement for the deployment of troops and the human rights monitors to oversee the situation in Burundi.”
Burundi is facing a political turmoil that broke out since April 2015 following the announcement that he would be seeking a third term.
His candidature, which was opposed by the opposition and civil society groups, resulted into a wave of protests, violence and even a failed coup on May 13, 2015.
Over 451 people are reported to have been killed since then while some 270,000 citizens sought exile in neighbouring countries.
Xinhua Zainab Sa’id