Burundi's government refuses to attend peace talks

Burundian government rejects opposition's invitation to attend peace talks in Tanzania

Photo by: AP (Archive )
Photo by: AP (Archive )

Tanzania is expected to host the peace talks as part of regional endeavor to resolve the violence ignited by President Nkrunziza’s decision to seek for third term in office.

Updated Jan 6, 2016

A senior Burundian official said Burundi’s government will not participate in peace talks with the opposition which were to be held on Wednesday, because it accuses some of the opposition participants of triggering uprisings in the country.  

Tanzania is expected to host the peace talks as part of a regional endeavor to resolve the violence ignited by President Nkrunziza’s decision to seek a third term in office which the opposition claimed was against the country's constitution.  

Joseph Bangurambona, the permanent secretary in Burundi's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said the government rejected participation in the talks due to the invitation of "those who are supporting violence."

"No dialogue tomorrow, neither on January 16 as many may think, because there has been no consensus on that date," Bangurambona told Reuters on Tuesday.

He added that the government particularly opposed the invitation of Carine Kaneza, because of her role in an organisation which the government did not recognize.

"The dialogue will resume on condition that the mediators iron out the irregularities and set another agreed-upon date," Bangurambona said.

Uganda, whose President Yoweri Museveni is mediating the peace talks, announced that "The Burundi peace negotiations will not resume tomorrow and at this moment we can't tell when they will."

Paddy Ankunda, spokesman for the Ugandan military, added, "What is going on is that all the parties involved are still making consultations; talks of this nature are never easy."

Thacien Sibomana, the spokesman for the opposition UPRONA party, said they have not received an invitation and accused the government of preventing them from taking part.

"This is a government strategy to drag on this dialogue while people are continuously being killed. That is why we ask an urgent deployment of troops," Sibomana said.

At least 400 people have been killed and about 3,500 have been arrested in Burundi since April last year, according to the United Nations, including Burundian opposition figures and supporters - as well as a former army chief and a former intelligence chief - under a government crackdown.

According to the latest UN figures, more than 239,000 people have fled to neighbouring countries, fearing a possible genocide. Up to 55 percent of the refugees are under the age of 18.

There was a civil war in Burundi from 1993 to 2005 and approximately 300,000 people died in the conflict between rebels from the country's majority Hutu population and an army dominated by the Tutsi minority. 

Source: 
TRTWorld and agencies