Uganda has promised to reach a compromise with Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza to ensure that African Union forces deploy in his country safely.
On December 30, 2015, Nkurunziza threatened to fight the proposed AU peacekeepers if they set foot on Burundian soil, defying intense global pressure to accept the force.
Uganda’s chief mediator in the Burundi talks and minister of Defence, Doctor Crispus Kiyonga told press in Kampala that Nkurunziza would be committing a grave mistake by attacking the African Union (AU) peacekeepers.
AU gave Burundi a four-day deadline on December 17 to accept a 5,000-strong force to halt months of violence.
“Shooting at the African Union peacekeepers would be a big mistake. We are all members of AU and we are bound by its resolutions,”Kiyonga said.
He added: “If one is not satisfied with AU’s decision, they can challenge it through proper channels like through the AU summit.”
Kiyonga advised people with guns in Burundi to go to the table and talk instead of being violent.
“The conflicting parties did not want to meet and talk together, so we were asking them to accept and sit together.”
Promising to increase speed in dealing with Burundi crisis, Kiyonga said when the summit meets, it will make sure Burundi’s President agrees to the deployment of AU forces.
“He can’t say he will kill any forces.”
Dr Kiyonga said it was true officials in Burundi have accused Rwanda of facilitating them, promising that Heads of State would deal with that.
“Incase the country (Burundi) doesn’t agree, we shall go there but we have to go through the right process.”
Dr Kiyonga said he doesn’t believe the dialogue will fail emphasizing that even African Union believes so.
“Our experience shows that in the end, everyone accepts the dialogue. They have already accepted really.”
“What we want to end is conflict, people being killed and suffering. Therefore, we want this dialogue to end quickly.”
Kiyonga warned that all those who committed crimes will not be forgiven.
He said even President Yoweri Museveni delayed his campaigns the previous time to deal with the Burundi Crisis because Uganda wants to see peace in Burundi.
Burundi political crisis has cost the lives of 400 people and displaced more 300,000.
The violence erupted after Nkurunziza launched his bid to stand for another term in office after completing the constitutional two five year terms.