US: Move Burundi talks from Kampala to Arusha


President Obama and Perriello

US has dispatched its Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region of Africa, Thomas Perriello, to help transfer Burundi talks from Uganda to Tanzania.

At the start of the year, President Yoweri Museveni delayed his campaigns to hold talks on Burundi crisis in Kampala at the urging of the East African Community.

Addressing press last week in Kampala, Uganda’s chief mediator in the Burundi talks and minister of Defence, Dr Crispus Kiyonga, said they 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 [Burundi conflicting parties] have already accepted really.”

Kiyonga said the Uganda-led mediation would soon 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.

Kiyonga told press in Kampala that Nkurunziza would be committing a grave mistake by attacking the African Union (AU) peacekeepers and that the forces would be deployed even if Burundi didn’t agree.

US orders talks moved

In a media note from the Office of the Spokesperson Washington, DC dated January 11, 2016, US Department of State said it had dispatched Special Envoy Perriello to travel to Belgium, Italy, Tanzania, Rwanda, DRC, Burundi, and Ethiopia.

“U.S. Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region of Africa Thomas Perriello departs today for an extended trip that will include stops in Brussels, Belgium; Rome, Italy; Dar es Salaam, Tanzania; Kigali, Rwanda; Bukavu, Goma, and Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC); Bujumbura, Burundi; and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.”

The trip is focused on supporting regional efforts to resolve the crisis in Burundi and to support upcoming elections in the DRC.

“The U.S. Government strongly supports the regionally-mediated Burundian dialogue launched on December 28, 2015, and is urging all stakeholders to remain committed to the process without preconditions,” the statement reads.

“An inclusive dialogue remains the best route for peacefully resolving the crisis in Burundi and restoring the stability achieved by the Arusha Agreement.”

The Special Envoy, according to the communication, will engage with Burundian stakeholders and East African Community (EAC) leadership about next steps for advancing the dialogue, including moving the dialogue to Arusha, Tanzania.

It was in Arusha last year that EAC tried to reconcile Burundi government with the opposition.

However, while Nkurunziza attended the talks, his army Gen Godefroid Niyombare, led a military coup that fortunately never succeeded.

The US did not explain why it preferred Burundi talks moved from Kampala to Arusha.

However, not long ago, US said it would hold Museveni personally responsible if the Burundi conflict degenerated into a civil war.

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