Burundi: US threatens sanctions, urges resumption of dialogue

GO BACK TO THE NEGOTIATING TABLE OR RISK SANCTIONS: US Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power

GO BACK TO THE NEGOTIATING TABLE OR RISK SANCTIONS: US Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power has warned Burundi leaders

The United States Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power has said her country and the international community are considering a range of sanctions they might slap on all parties in the Burundi conflict that are committing human blatant human rights violations and politically motivated killings.

Power told the media in New York City, “the US and other member states are looking at measures that we can take, such as travel bans, visa bans and so forth against those responsible for gross violations of human rights or murderous attacks.”

She also warned recent assassination of General Adolphe Nshimirimana, head of Internal Security, and the attempt on leading rights activist and President Pierre Nkurunziza’s third term critic Pierre Claver Mbonimparisk push the Central African nation into an uncontrollable “cycle of violence.

The United States envoy appealed to the government in Bujumbura and opposition leaders to jumpstart the on and off talks in bid to end the violence that has paralyzed the country since April when the ruling party nominated President Nkurunziza for the controversial third term.

She says the talks “will calm tempers, allow civil society and independent media to be reconstituted, and to operate freely in the country.”

Power underscored violent and deadly “attacks must stop,” saying “There is going to need to be a political place for those on both sides upset about the violence or upset about the political conditions to channel their energies.”

The talks to end the turmoil were called off  on the eve of the July 21 presidential poll that President Nkurunziza won by more than 69% of the vote.

Uganda is mediating the stalled talks and the parties in the conflict have in the last two months rejected two prior UN facilitators in the talks accusing them of bias.

First, the opposition and civil society forced the resignation of Algerian Diplomat Said Djinnit, and then in July the government rejected Senegal’s Adoulaye Bathily prompting the East African Community to appoint Yoweri Museveni,the Ugandan lead mediation.

Experts say its hard to see talks resuming given the fact that the opposition has split since the end of the disputed electoral process.

The main opposition leader Agathon Rwasa has angered fellow opposition politicians by joining parliament whose election he boycotted.

He has been elected first deputy speaker of the National Assembly and political insiders contend Rwasa appears to have struck a deal with the ruling CNDD-FDD, to the chagrin of other opposition leaders and civil society.

The leader of the Hope for Burundians opposition coalition has recently been at the receiving end of criticism even from within his coalition.