UN mediator in Burundi steps down

United Nations envoy to Burundi ‘Said Djinnit’ steps down as mediator in African nation’s crisis

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

Updated Jul 28, 2015

United Nations envoy to Burundi “Said Djinnit” will step down as he was hosting talks between the governing party and those who do not want President Pierre Nkurunziza to run for a third term.

Voices opposing to the Burundian president’s re-election welcomed Djinnit’s resignation.

Burundian president’s announcement regarding his re-election sparked weeks of protests in Burundi and a coup attempt.

Following pressure from regional leaders, presidential elections were pushed to July 15, it was previously scheduled in June.

Mr Djinnit was aware of the "positions expressed on his role as facilitator by some Burundian parties," according to a UN statement.

Mr Djinnit remains the UN's envoy to the Great Lakes region, a UN official says.

Nkurunziza’s opposition has said Djinnit did not focus on the root of the problem which is the third term bid, and Djinnit had replied and said the talks did not terminate "candidature of President Nkurunziza," but there had been "progress" in other areas.

One of the leaders of the anti-third-term protests, Nininahazwe Pacifique, has welcomed the resignation saying that Mr Djinnit had "no choice." The president "should follow this beautiful example," he added.

Burundi has been hit by weeks of civil unrest as the country’s opposition wants Nkurunziza to withdraw his third-term presidential bid in the upcoming June 26 elections, claiming it violates the country's constitution and the Arusha Accords, a peace deal that ended an over decade long ethnic civil war in 2005.

More than 40 people have been killed and 500 wounded since April, during protests opposing Nkurunziza’s decision to run for a third term.

TRTWorld and agencies