Burundi Peace Talks Postponed
Peace talks between Burundi’s government and opposition groups have been postponed, with no word on when they may resume.
The talks, which opened in Uganda late last month, were set to continue Wednesday in Arusha, Tanzania.
But a senior official in Burundi’s foreign affairs ministry, Joseph Bangurambona, said Tuesday the government will not participate due to the inclusion of those who he said are “supporting violence.”
Also, a leading opposition coalition, CNARED, said they have not received an invitation to the talks.
Jean Minani, leader of the Frodebu political party and a member of the coalition, accused the government of stalling.
“It is not about President Nkurunziza to choose with who has to negotiate,” said Minani. “They don’t want to negotiate because they know; they are the causes of all the problems of Burundi.”
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni is attempting to mediate an end to Burundi’s political crisis, triggered by President Pierre Nkurunziza’s announcement last April that he would seek a third term.
Since then, clashes between police and protesters and series of attacks in the capital, Bujumbura, have killed more than 400 people.
Tension runs especially high since the African Union said last month it may deploy up to 5,000 peacekeepers in Burundi to stop the violence. The government has said the troops will be attacked if they attempt to come without permission.
President Nkurunziza was re-elected last July in a poll boycotted by the opposition. His critics say he violated two-term limits in the constitution and the Arusha agreement that ended Burundi’s civil war. The president said his first term didn’t count against the limit because he was elected by parliament instead of a popular vote.