Former Tanzania president Benjamin William Mkapa, the facilitator of the inter-Burundi dialogue has described the 24th May 2016 Arusha talks as “impressive” and “fruitful”.
“I am also particularly touched by the presence of our international partners who have expressed support to the process,” he said in closing remarks.
He said it was evident that Burundians are yearning for peace and a stop to killings and assassinations.
“I note that there is tremendous aversion to violence, targeted killings, and the realization that war is not a solution to the crisis. Some of you have expressed concerns about the economic decline obtaining in the country because of the crisis.”
Mkapa said in the next two weeks, he will continue and complete the consultations with those who did not come during this session, but whom he feels might have positive contributions to make to the process.
“I will also consult with the Mediator in order to determine the way forward. Thereafter, I expect to convene a dialogue session possibly during the third week of June.”
European Union speaks
Commenting on the talks, the European Union said the engagement by representatives of both Government and opposition in Arusha opens the way to a credible dialogue amongst all Burundian stakeholders.
President Mkapa’s personal engagement as facilitator and on his commitment to protect the principles of the Arusha Agreements were critical to achieve this, EU said in a statement.
The regional dialogue, as mandated by the Heads of State of the East African Community (EAC), is the only way forward to peacefully resolving this crisis.
“All sides should seize this opportunity and engage actively in the process in good faith and without delay.”
As President Mkapa recognised, the voices of all those who can contribute to a political solution should be heard – including all those who could not attend this round, EU pointed out.
“The EU supports President Mkapa in reiterating the importance of inclusivity to the success of this dialogue process, and equally on the need for all sides immediately to cease violence, acts of torture and political detentions.”