Burundi, UN Security Council not agreeing on AU troop deployment

Ambassador Samantha Power and President Pierre Nkurunziza addressing the media

Ambassador Samantha Power and President Pierre Nkurunziza addressing the media

The visiting UN Security Council delegation in Burundi has not been able to convince the government to endorse the proposed AU troop deployment in the troubled central African nation.

In a press briefing following their meeting with Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza in the central province of Gitega, Ismaël Abraao Martins, the Angolan Ambassador to the UN who headed the delegation in today’s discussions said the Burundian government is not budging in its opposition to the deployment of peacekeepers.

“We have taken note of that decision (unwavering opposition to the AU proposal) and we will continue to work on it at the level of the Security Council,” he said.

Ambassador Martins acknowledged however that the government of Burundi has agreed with the delegation on the other key issues on the agenda like the need for the resumption of dialogue.

“We are very pleased that we agreed on this that there must be dialogue, and through dialogue we should only understand all issues and find a proper solution to the problem that we are all facing, as we believe that problems of Burundi are also ours, hence the need to find a solution together,” he said.

On the contentious issues, Mr. Martins said the most important thing is that they discussed all of them. “You don’t find a solution to all problems in one day! We will continue to talk so as to find a solution appropriate for the President, for the country and for the region,” Ambassador Martins said.

President Pierre Nkurunziza said his government remains open to internal as well as external mediated-dialogue in bid to restore peace and security in the country, stressing however on the importance of the Inter-Burundi initiatives.

“Internal as well as external dialogue remains all essential for a durable peace. Every Burundian who has anything to contribute for the welfare of the country will have a room to give their contribution,” President Nkurunziza said.

Despite Bujumbura’s defiance on the troop deployment issue, the UN Security Council delegation has vowed to keep working with the government to stop the deadly violence.

“None of us want the situation in Burundi to deteriorate, we are here because we want to support efforts to dialogue because we believe as a council that a more substantial presence of the international community here can help,” The head of the visiting team, Samantha Power, US Ambassador to the United Nations said.

The US ambassador hopes President Nkurunziza will eventually heed their message and that the Government of Burundi will be open to ideas of how the international community can support efforts to bring peace to Burundi.

The current Burundian crisis began in April last year when President Nkurunziza announced he was running for the third term prompting widespread popular protests.

The turmoil has since claimed over 400 lives and the international community fears an escalation into civil war or genocide. The government in Burundi has dismissed the “genocide narrative” as pretext behind the proposed AU troop deployment