Burundi govt won't join crisis talks unless consulted

2016-04-28 10:34
(iStock)

(iStock)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Nairobi - Burundi's government on Wednesday refused to participate in stalled talks to end months of political crisis unless it was first consulted on who else was taking part.

As Washington urged the authorities to defuse a year-long crisis, a presidential statement, broadcast on national radio and monitored in Nairobi, issued a set of conditions to the government joining the so-called Burundi "dialogue".

"The Burundi government must be consulted [as] we must be in agreement on the persons who should be invited, the dates and the place," said Willy Nyamitwe, communications officer for the presidency.

The authorities also were awaiting "an official invitation", he added.

He later told AFP the government had just received its invite to fresh crisis talks Monday and was "analysing" it. "It will reply at any moment through the required channels," he said.

Burundi has been in political strife for a year, with 270 000 people fleeing into exile and more than 500 killed.

A regionally-mediated dialogue between all Burundians is being pushed by the international community as the best way to avoid civil war and former Tanzania president Benjamin Mkapa last weekend announced new talks from May 2 to 6 in Arusha.

The resumption of the dialogue was welcomed by the US state department in a statement late Tuesday "as the best means to restoring peace and stability to Burundi."

[We] "strongly urge all stakeholders to fully participate without preconditions or red lines," it said.

"The sooner this crisis is resolved, the sooner we can help Burundi realise greater development and prosperity."

Human rights jeopardised

But the government has repeatedly refused to sit at the same table as the main umbrella opposition group CNARED, including domestic and exiled leaders, accusing them of fomenting trouble.

Nyamitwe said on radio that "those who have attacked the lives of citizens, who hoped to overthrow institutions that were democratically elected, and others who are involved in armed insurrection in our country, cannot be summoned to this dialogue."

CNARED meanwhile said it was prepared to take part in Monday's talks in Arusha, though it had not yet received an official invitation.

The government ought to be aware that "it's not part of the mediation but is a party to the conflict, just like CNARED," said its communications officer Jeremie Minani.

"It's not up to them to draw up the list of participants or to set the agenda for the talks."

Burundi's current troubles began after President Pierre Nkurunziza's controversial decision last April to run for a third term, a vote he won amid opposition boycotts in July.

The decision was followed by a failed coup and almost daily protests that have become increasingly violent.

In a statement Wednesday, Amnesty International said the human rights situation in the country continues to deteriorate, and that it remains unclear who is to blame for violence.

This week a top general was gunned down in Burundi with his wife while dropping off their daughter at school, as the International Criminal Court (ICC) announced its prosecutors were launching a preliminary probe into a litany of atrocities.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein condemned Wednesday the increasing number of attacks against high-level officials in Burundi.

"They must be properly investigated and the killers must be arrested and brought before the law," he said.

The ICC's chief prosecutor said her office had reviewed reports "detailing acts of killing, imprisonment, torture, rape and other forms of sexual violence, as well as cases of enforced disappearances".

"All these acts appear to fall within the jurisdiction of the ICC," said Fatou Bensouda.

Read more on:    burundi

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.