US renews call of dialogue in Burundi

Stuart Symington meeting with Gaston Sindimwo, the 1st Vice-President of Burundi.

Stuart Symington meeting with Gaston Sindimwo, the 1st
Vice-President of Burundi.

The US government has made yet another call for the resumption of dialogue in Burundi with all stakeholders in a bid to find a durable solution to the conflict that has destabilized the country since April.

In a brief press conference shortly after meeting the Burundian Speaker of Parliament Tuesday, Stuart Symington, U.S. Special Representative for the Central African Republic expressed his satisfaction to meet the Burundian officials and pledged to preserve the longstanding relationships between Burundi and the United States.

“Burundi is important to the whole world, to the region, to Africa and to the United States. We have long had relations with your country and we’ll continue to have relations with your country, and that is the only best interest for both our countries,” Symington said.

Stuart Symington insisted that his country still continues to advocate for a permanent and inclusive dialogue with all Burundian stakeholders inside and outside the country so as to discuss the future of the country.

“We seek more than anything else: a permanent, constructive, open and inclusive dialogue, between the citizens of Burundi and their government, the one that reaches beyond the borders to those who are outside and to those who are inside,” Mr. Symington told local media.

Burundi welcomed the US official’s visit, Pascal Nyabenda, the Speaker of the National Assembly and chairperson of the ruling CNDD-FDD, said his government reassured the United States that they remain open to an inclusive dialogue.

“Through his message, we realized that they were eager to know how we will make a step forward as regards the inclusive dialogue. We have reassured him that we remain open to one that would bring together all Burundians, those residing inside as well as those living outside,” Nyabenda said.

Hon. Nyabenda however, maintained prosecutions must continue against whoever has had a hand in the reported crimes, mentioning specifically those involved in the May 13 foiled coup.

“You all know that the country thwarted a military coup on May 13 this year, so the judiciary must carry on with its course alongside this dialogue,” said Hon. Nyabenda, adding that the visiting US official understood their concerns.

The political and civil society leaders who left the country set up a collegiate body known as National Council for the respect of the Arusha Agreement, the Constitution and the Rule of Law (CNARED), which threatens to resort to armed struggle in case the government fails to sit with them in a meaningful dialogue.

Recently, the government of Burundi announced that they cannot sit with an organization which is not legally recognized. The remarks of the speaker appear as sign of a possible change stance in terms of willingness to engage the opposition in the diaspora.