Burundi opposition party rejects EAC chief in peace talks

The Burundian National Liberation Forces (FNL) opposition party said Friday it is against the participation of Richard Sezibera, the East African Community (EAC) Secretary General, in the Burundian peace talks, accusing him of partiality.


“The Burundian dialogue schedule was unilaterally elaborated by EAC Secretary General Richard Sezibera who made arrangement for the radical opposition that was invited to the re-launch of peace talks in Entebbe, Uganda on Dec. 28, 2015,” said FNL Chairman Jacques Bigirimana in a declaration.

Burundi“I take this opportunity to protest against Sezibera’s presence in the facilitation,”he said.

“There is evidence that Sezibera is partial as he sides with the radical opposition from the beginning of talks before the 2015 elections until now.”

Bigirimana indicated that the information at his disposal shows that before the Entebbe meeting in Uganda last December, Sezibera was in physical contact with the radical opposition.

“During their meeting, they had agreed only to give the floor to the radical opposition at the re-launch of the peace talks in Entebbe, and it was done so while there was a representative of the parliamentary opposition — Agathon Rwasa — and myself as the representative of the extra parliamentary opposition,” said Bigirimana.

He explained that Sezibera is Rwandan President Paul Kagame’s special envoy to the EAC, which shows his “partiality” having in mind “cold bilateral relations” between Burundi and Rwanda.

“I urge the Burundian government and other political stakeholders to convince the facilitation so that true representatives of registered political parties and organizations can participate in the talks,” said Bigirimana.

On Dec. 28 last year, at the re-launch of the inter-Burundian dialogue at Entebbe, participants, including the opposition in exile and the facilitation, decided to meet again in Arusha on Jan. 6, but the government boycotted the session, arguing that the date (Jan. 6) did not meet an agreement.

Meanwhile, on Dec. 17, 2015, the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council issued a resolution on the deployment of 5,000 troops into Burundi to prevent genocide or massive killings, but the Burundian government decided to fight against those troops if they set their feet on the east African country’s territory.

Since April, with the outbreak of protests against the third term bid of Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza and his controversial re-election in July, violence has left over 400 dead in the east African nation, according to civil society groups. Enditem

Source: Xinhua

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