Burundi gov’t is ready for dialogue

WE ARE READY FOR TALKS Philippe Nzobonariba. Spokesperson of the Burundian Government

WE ARE READY FOR TALKS Philippe Nzobonariba. Spokesperson of the Burundian Government

The Burundian government says it is ready to resume talks with all recognized partners in an effort find a lasting solution the electoral-related conflict that has destabilized the central African nation since April.

Speaking on Tuesday to the National Radio and Television, Philippe Nzobonariba, the spokesperson of the government, said the government still considers a permanent dialogue as a backbone of the lasting peace.

“The principle of dialogue remains a sacred principle for the Government. I would like thus to remind that the Government has expressed its commitment to negotiate before, during and after the electoral process,” Nzobonariba said.

Nzobonariba further noted the electoral code that governed the recent elections is a result of a series of forums organized since 2013 bringing together all political stakeholders and civil society under the auspices of the UN office in Bujumbura.

Mr. Nzobonariba says so long as a mediator is already in place, the government will never constitute an obstacle but instead will take part whenever they are called up.

His remarks came in response to the call made by the UN Security Council Monday, urging immediate resumption of dialogue with the opposition to halt a spiral of violence that is pushing the country to the brink.

“Council members expressed deep concern on the political and security situation in Burundi and called for the immediate resumption of inclusive dialogue in order to achieve a lasting peace,” Nigerian Ambassador to the UNSC Joy Ogwu told reporters.

The UN Security Council has resolved that the Secretary General send another envoy soon to push for the resumption of dialogue that was suspended two days before the July 21 presidential polls.

The government spokesperson said that although they still recognize the Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni as the mediator, the government is open to whoever the UN decides to send.

“The Government has not yet been notified about the new mediator or whether the Security Council doesn’t recognize Museveni as mediator. If now the international community, especially the UN, find it appropriate to send another mediator, it’s OK, but the government must be officially informed so that we can give our view point,” Mr. Nzobonariba said.

Throughout the course of the three-month conflict, negotiations between the government and opposition and civil society have stalled due to disagreements on the mediator.

In June, the opposition and civil society rejected UN Envoy Said Djinnit accusing of government bias, then in July it was the government’s turn to request the UN the recall Djnnit’s successor Abddoulaye Bathily alleging he “disrespected” the authorities in Burundi.

The current mediator, Museveni of Uganda, was appointed by the East African Community heads of State summit in Dar es Salaam in July but he is yet to make headway in the talks.

The international community fears of a possible escalation in the Burundi conflict ignited by the ruling CNDD-FDD to nominate President Pierre Nkurunziza’s bid for the controversial third term.

The recent assassination of General Adolphe Nshimirimana, the head of Internal Security and a close ally to President Nkurunziza, and the attempted assassination of leading rights activist Pierre Claver Mbonimpa have alarmed the international community.