EAC implores leaders in Burundi to embrace dialogue

Ambassador Dr. Richard Sezibera, Secretary General of EAC and regional leaders have appealed to Burundi's leaders to go back to the negotiating table

Ambassador Dr. Richard Sezibera, Secretary General of EAC and regional leaders have appealed to Burundi’s leaders to go back to the negotiating table

The East African Community (EAC) Council of Ministers has appealed to stakeholders in the Burundian crisis to resume dialogue and end the deadly violence ravaging the Central African nation.

EAC ministers say the solution to the turmoil lies in political talks between all players.

Tanzania’s Foreign Minister, Augustine Mahiga convened a crisis meeting in Arusha, Tanzania Wednesday to deliberate on the Burundi situation with his regional counterparts.

“The meeting expressed support for the facilitation efforts under President Yoweri Museveni and noted that the dialogue scheduled for 6th January 2016 did not take place due to ongoing consultations. The meeting committed to intensify consultations with the Burundi government and the opposition with a view to continue the Burundi political dialogue as soon as possible,” an EAC Secretariat council statement read in part.

The statement added “The meeting noted with appreciation and expressed support for the steps taken in particular by the EAC, the AU and the UN and the resultant Communiques and related pronouncements including by the EAC Emergency Summits of 13th May and 6th July 2015; by the AU Peace and Security Council on 17th October, 13th November and 17th December 2015; the United Nations Security Council’s Presidential Statement of 28th October 2015 and the United Nations Security Council’s Resolution 2248(2015) of 12th November 2015.”

Wednesday’s consultative meeting came after the talks that were scheduled to continue Tuesday in Arusha were suddenly postponed. Many had hoped political players would build on the Dec 28, 2015 discussions in Entebbe, Uganda under the chairmanship but for some technical reasons that talks have been indefinitely called off.

Today’s gathering was attended by Chairperson of the Regional Inter-Ministerial Committee of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) and Angola Minister of Foreign Affairs, Georges Rebelo Pinto Chikoti, Dr. Crispus Kiyonga, Uganda Minister for Defence and President Yoweri Museveni’s envoy, Ambassador Richard Sezibera, EAC Secretary General and Kassimi Bamba, from the African Union Office in Burundi and the Great Lakes region.

The 9-month conflict has claimed over 400 lives and the death toll grows day by day, the warrying parties are under intense pressure to talk and resolve the political impasse. Despite this pressure, the government is reluctant to talk to “some elements who took part in last year’s failed coup,” and the opposition is calling for the annulment of last year’s elections, and fresh polls. Both sides maintain they are committed to dialogue but they haven’t acted on their pledges.

Analysts have warned it will be hard if not impossible for both sides to strike a compromise that would eventually end the turmoil.