United States has called for calm following an attempted but foiled coup on the government of President Pierre Nkurunziza.
Marie Harf, Deputy Department Spokesperson, Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC Wednesday said the US was deeply concerned by developments in Burundi.
“We call on all parties to immediately end the violence, to exercise restraint, and above all to prioritize peace in Burundi,” Harf said adding, “We support East African Community leaders’ call today for peaceful, democratic elections in line with Burundi’s electoral laws and the spirit of the Arusha Agreement.”
Washington urged all stakeholders to take the steps necessary to create the conditions required for peaceful, timely, credible and transparent elections, and to respect the rule of law, including those provisions of Burundian law regarding civilian rule.
The US reiterated that the Arusha Agreement was about ending years of violence and civil war in Burundi hence it was essential for all Burundians – both military and civilian – to uphold the spirit of this agreement and reject violence.
The United States pledged continue to monitor the situation in Burundi closely, and will, as appropriate, refuse U.S. visas to those who participate in, plan, or order violence against the civilian population based on political opinion.
On Thursday, Jeff Rathke, Director, Press Office Washington, DC said in a press briefing that they were watching the situation in Burundi very closely and with great concern.
“As we discussed yesterday, the situation remains very fluid, so we continue to attempt to gather facts.”
“We think it’s more important than ever that all political forces, civilian and military, respect the principles of the Arusha Agreements. These principles have been the basis for the lasting peace and unity in Burundi. We are also deeply concerned about reports of Burundian military involvement in the violent events in Bujumbura.”
He warned that the United States would not provide U.S. military assistance to military units if they had credible information that they have committed gross violations of human rights.
“I would also go back to the point that we discussed yesterday, which is that President Nkurunziza remains the president of Burundi,” Rathke clarified.
He said they noted the coup staged by Gen Godefroid Niyombare contesting or competing claims to authority but still recognised President Nkurunziza as the legitimate president.
The US assistant secretary for African affairs, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, was in Tanzania for the East African Community’s summit where she met with officials of the countries in the region to express U.S. support for regional efforts to find a solution.
Over the last two days, the US has issued two emergency messages through their embassy in Bujumbura.
Nkurunziza is now back in Burundi and in charge of the country.
Three of the top Generals who staged the coup have been arrested.