UN urges talks between Burundi government and opposition

2018-04-04 21:38

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The UN Security Council on Wednesday urged the government of Burundi to engage in meaningful talks with the opposition ahead of the 2020 elections, saying it was "deeply concerned" about the situation in the African nation.

The statement also offered support to the African Union's efforts to help resolve the Burundi conflict, but called on regional states to "refrain from any interference."

The Council is "deeply concerned over the political situation in Burundi, the slow progress of the inter Burundian dialogue led by the East African Community (EAC), and the lack of engagement" by the Burundi government read the statement adopted by the 15-member Council.

The international body expects elections scheduled for 2020 in Burundi to be "free, fair, transparent, peaceful, fully inclusive, with the participation of all political parties," and to "ensure the full and equal participation of women throughout the process," the statement said.

The Council however underscored its "deep concern regarding the continued worsening of the humanitarian situation, marked by nearly 180 000 internally displaced persons, 3.6 million people in need and more than 429 000 Burundians seeking refuge in neighbouring countries."

The government of Burundi has "the primary responsibility ... for ensuring security in its territory and protecting its population, with respect for the rule of law, human rights and international humanitarian law, as applicable."

The statement also urged Burundi to resume its cooperation with international groups, especially the United Nations.

Burundi's President Pierre Nkurunziza, first elected to office in 2005, ran for a third five-year term and was re-elected in 2015 despite a two-term limit under the constitution.

That grip on power triggered violence that left at least 1 200 people dead and sent more than 400 000 Burundians fleeing abroad.

Nkurunziza has set May 17 as the date for a referendum on a constitutional reform that would enable him to serve two seven-year mandates from 2020.

The constitutional changes, however, have been intensely criticised by the opposition and the international community, particularly the African Union.

Read more on:    un  |  au  |  burundi  |  east africa

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