Burundi refutes invitation claims for Talks to end crunch in Arusha

The Burundian government has not yet received any invitation to participate in talks reportedly due in Arusha, Tanzania from May 2 to May 6, the Burundian president's office said Tuesday.

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Burundis President Pierre Nkurunziza
Burundis President Pierre Nkurunziza

“Until now, we have not yet received any invitation, through authorized channels, to participate in the inter-Burundian dialogue that is reported by foreign media and social networks and that would take place in Arusha. We are waiting for that invitation,” said Willy Nyamitwe, senior communication officer at the Burundian president’s office.

Burundis President Pierre Nkurunziza
Burundis President Pierre Nkurunziza

According to Nyamitwe, no invitation for the Arusha talks has been given to the office of the Burundian president or the external relations and international cooperation ministry.

“We consider this as a rumor. Very recently, the Burundian government sent delegates to see former Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa who is also co-facilitator in the Burundian crisis, but he did not tell them the date for the talks. When he came to Burundi to meet the president (of Burundi), no date for talks was either announced,” said Nyamitwe.

With regards to participants in those talks in case the invitation reaches the Burundian government, Nyamitwe stressed that there should be respect of international and domestic laws on the criteria to attend the dialogue.

On Twitter, co-facilitator in the Burundian crisis Benjamin Mkapa said, “All stakeholders are expected to be present at inaugural session of the Burundi dialogue in Arusha, Tanzania on May 2-6.”

Mkapa was designated by the East African Community (EAC) heads of state summit earlier in March as co-facilitator on a fulltime basis in the Burundian crisis, therefore helping Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni to mediate the conflict.

Burundi is facing a political turmoil that broke out since April 2015 following the announcement by Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza that he would be seeking a third term.

His candidature, which was opposed by the opposition and civil society groups, resulted into a wave of protests, violence and even a failed coup on May 13, 2015.

Over 400 persons are reported to have been killed since then while some 240,000 citizens sought exile in neighboring countries.

Source; Xinhua

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