Burundi undermining key pillar of peace deal - envoys

2015-08-12 16:59

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Nairobi - Top envoys warned on Wednesday that Burundi's government showed a "disturbing intent" on scrapping ethnic quotas in positions of power, a key pillar of a peace deal that ended a 13-year war.

The diplomats, from the United Nations, African Union, European Union, Belgium and United States, called on all sides to "recommit to a transparent, inclusive, and comprehensive political dialogue".

Violence began in April, when President Pierre Nkurunziza launched his now successful bid for a third term in power. In mid-May, rebel generals attempted a coup, which failed, but they have since launched a rebellion.

"Following months of unrest and the controversial electoral process, the Burundian government can begin to restore credibility through engagement in an inclusive political dialogue with political parties," the envoys said in a statement.

"The Burundian government cannot afford to continue down a road marred by instability, division, extreme economic decline, and humanitarian crisis," they added.

Key positions of power

There are widespread fears - both inside and outside Burundi - that the tiny country in the heart of central Africa's troubled Great Lakes region could be plunged back into civil war.

The last civil war in Burundi, which ended in 2006, left at least 300 000 people dead.

But the envoys warned the government were undermining a central pillar of the 2000 agreement that paved the way to end that war, by repealing ethnic quotas for key positions of power between the majority Hutu and minority Tutsi peoples.

The envoys said the ending last week of ethnic and gender balances in the National Assembly's leadership committee "indicate a disturbing intent by the ruling party to repeal one of the fundamental principles of peace and stability that enabled Burundi to emerge from protracted civil war".

The joint statement was issued in Kenya by UN envoy Said Djinnit, AU envoy Ibrahima Fall, US envoy Thomas Perriello, Koen Vervaeke from the EU and Frank De Coninck of former colonial ruler Belgium.

Read more on:    un  |  eu  |  pierre nkurunziza  |  burundi  |  east africa

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