US envoy back to Burundi to push for dialogue

US Special Envoy to the Great Lakes Region Thomas Perriello

US Special Envoy to the Great Lakes Region Thomas Perriello

The US Special Envoy in the Great Lakes Thomas Perriello says his country is eager to strengthen its relationship with Burundi.

Speaking to the National Radio after his meeting with the Burundi Parliament Speaker, Pascal Nyabenda, this Thursday, Mr. Perriello said the United States is keen to see peace and prosperity reign in Burundi.

“We know that we need to continue to do some work together to get back on that common path,” he said.

The US envoy believes the legislative branch has an important role to play to ensure leaders get back to the negotiating table.
Tom Perriello also met with President Pierre Nkurunziza as the duo deliberated on ways to end the turmoil in Burundi.

The National Assembly Speaker, Pascal Nyabenda says it was a good opportunity to explain to the US envoy the government stance over some critical issues, such as the resumption of the dialogue and the proposed African Union peacekeeping mission to Burundi, which has been vehemently opposed by Burundi.

He took opportunity to reiterate that Burundi is not ready to welcome foreign troops in the country, saying the country’s military is capable of protecting civilians and safeguarding the nation.

Burundi has seen its relationship with the international community deteriorate in the course of this conflict with many of its donors cutting or suspending parts of their aid packages. The United States is among the countries that have suspended aid packages.

The US has also suspended Burundi out of the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) program and sanctioned top government officials accused of human rights violations and obstructing the peace process in Burundi.

The country’s government and the CNDD-FDD ruling party have in turn lambasted the international community for interfering into Burundi internal affairs and supporting “ill-willed” Burundians who want to topple the country’s institutions.

Tom Perriello has been to the Central African nation several times in bid to encourage the players in the conflict to resume talks but no progress has been made on that front