Crisis summit to be held without Burundi President

Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza will not join summit focusing on crisis in Burundi

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza will not attend a summit of regional leaders in Tanzania on Sunday focusing on the crisis in his country, his spokesman said.

"President Nkurunziza will not go to Dar es Salaam," Gervais Abahiro told AFP. 

"He will be represented there by his foreign minister. He is campaigning (for elections) and decided to delegate his minister,” he added.

Nkurunziza’s decision not to attend the summit is thought to be due to his past experience in which Nkurunziza had left the country in earlier May, for crisis talks and a General from the army attempted a coup to oust his administration which ultimately ended unsuccessfully.

More than 30 people have been killed and 500 wounded since April, during protests opposing Nkurunziza’s decision to run for a third term.

The opposition wants Nkurunziza to withdraw his third-term bid in the upcoming June 26 elections, claiming it violates the country's constitution and the Arusha Accords, a peace deal that ended a over decade long ethnic civil war in 2005.

The constitution limits the presidency to two terms in office, but Nkurunziza's supporters say he can run again because his first term was picked by lawmakers and not by elections.

The US placed visa restrictions on Burundians it deemed responsible prior to the elections, claiming that violence and militias have no place in the democratic process and all people should vote for a better Burundi.

Urging all Burundian stakeholders and regional actors to continue to support ongoing efforts to find a solution in accordance with the Arusha Agreement, the US warned all sides to refrain from any acts that could contribute to the climate of instability or undermine the rule of law in Burundi.

Concerning the political crisis in Burundi, East African Community (EAC) leaders will come together on a summit to be held in Tanzania on Sunday. 

According to AFP, the leaders will not discuss the key issue of the presidential term limit which is at the root of tensions that have sparked weeks of civil unrest and the failed coup attempt.

TRTWorld and agencies