Burundi: UN chief calls on all sides to avert crisis by engaging in inclusive political dialogue

Children at a temporary shelter in Bujumbura, Burundi, use drawing to help them forget the turmoil they have gone through. Photo: UNICEF Burundi/Eliane Luthi

31 December 2015 – Hailing the resumption of talks between the Burundian parties in Entebbe, Uganda, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today urged all sides to engage in constructive dialogue as renewed violence prompts fears of a relapse into the decades of civil war that killed tens of thousands of people.

“The current crisis can only be resolved through a credible and inclusive political dialogue,” said a statement issued by Mr. Ban’s spokesperson, referring to the crisis that erupted when President Pierre Nkurunziza decided to run for a controversial third term earlier this year.

Since then at least 400 people have been killed, with the toll possibly considerably higher, and 220,000 have fled to neighbouring countries with many others internally displaced.

“He urges them, especially the Government of Burundi, to remain committed and engage constructively in this critical process in order to address the deep political challenges facing the country,” the statement said.

“The Secretary-General reiterates his appeal to all Burundian political leaders to demonstrate the highest sense of responsibility and place peace and national reconciliation above partisan interests.”

Mr. Ban’s Special Adviser, Jamal Benomar, attended the opening ceremony of the talks in Entebbe on Monday. He consulted with regional leaders on how the UN can further support their efforts to help restore peace and stability in the country.

The Secretary-General commended Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, as East African Community Facilitator, for his sustained commitment to helping the parties find a peaceful solution to the crisis, and welcomed all efforts by Burundi’s partners to help defuse tensions and bring about a sustainable political solution.

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