Museveni meets US officials on Burundi


Museveni receives Greenfield


President Yoweri Museveni has met a US delegation led by the United States Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Lindah Thomas GreenField.

The meeting took place at State House Entebbe, according to presidential press secretary, Lindah Nabusayi.

The meeting has roots in the ongoing conflicts in the neighbouring Burundi.

Last week, Greenfield told a US Senate panel that President Yoweri Museveni and the East African Community could share in the blame if full-scale war breaks out in Burundi.

The Ugandan leader’s campaign for re-election next year has “very much distracted” him from his assigned role as EAC mediator of the Burundi crisis, she said.

Urgent and closely focused attention is needed to quell Burundi’s internal conflict, the US diplomat said.

But the EAC’s efforts to promote negotiations “have not borne fruit,” she added.

“We hope to see dialogue initiated in the very near future,” Ms Thomas-Greenfield remarked.

“If it is not, and the crisis deteriorates further, possibly into full-scale war, I fear that President Museveni and the EAC could end up being partially blamed, given the lengthy delays in getting the process started.”

Political tensions within the EAC have also impeded mediation, she said.


Competing interests between Burundi and Rwanda and between Rwanda and Tanzania “have caused the EAC to not be as effective as they might have been,” Ms Thomas-Greenfield said in remarks to a US Senate subcommittee on Africa.

Senator Jeff Flake, chairman of that panel, observed in his own comments that Mr Museveni might “find it hard to speak with much credibility” on the crisis precipitated by the Burundian president’s decision to seek a third five-year term in office.

The US wants the African Union to take over the mediation effort from the EAC, Assistant Secretary Thomas-Greenfield said.

“We’re hopeful the AU will become more actively engaged in the process and take this burden away from President Museveni,” she told the Senate panel.

The State Department’s top Africa official also took note of reports that Rwanda is recruiting Burundian refugees with the possible aim of launching an armed insurgency inside Burundi.

The US has encouraged the Rwandan government to investigate those reports, Ms Thomas-Greenfield said.



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