Burundi factions commit to peace through dialogue
All parties caught up in the Burundi conflict have expressed strong commitments to resolving whatever political problems that exist through inclusive and peaceful dialogue‚ President Jacob Zuma says.
Zuma was speaking after leading a high-level five-member African Union heads-of-state delegation to the troubled African state.
He said the delegation‚ comprising the presidents of Senegal‚ Gabon‚ Mauritania and South Africa‚ as well as the Prime Minister of Ethiopia‚ had two days meeting with various stakeholders comprising the Burundi government‚ political parties and civil society soliciting their views about the political situation in the country.
The High Level Delegation of the Heads of State and Government had expressed its concerns about the levels of violence‚ loss of life‚ and the general state of political instability in the country.
“We are however pleased that all parties expressed strong commitment to resolving whatever political problems exist through inclusive and peaceful dialogue. We believe strongly that the solution to Burundi political problems can be attained only through inclusive and peaceful engagement‚” Zuma stated.
He said the Burundi government had committed to continue the steps it had begun to open up space for free political activity by the people of Burundi and ensure the freedom of the media.
From its side‚ the AU would deploy one hundred human rights observers and one hundred military monitors to Burundi to monitor the situation.
In addition‚ Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni would convene an inclusive dialogue that would be attended by all important stakeholders as soon as possible to continue the work that he had already started of facilitating peace talks in Burundi.
“We urge the international community to support the people of Burundi in their efforts to find lasting peace and development for the country.
“In this regard‚ we urge the international community to restore the provision of assistance to Burundi as requested by the people of Burundi so that they can continue with building their country‚” Zuma stated.
He added that the delegation would provide a full report to the African Union Chairperson and President of Chad‚ President Idriss Deby Itno.
President Zuma was stranded in the Burundi capital‚ Bujumburu‚ at the end of the visit on Friday due to technical problems.
It is not known when he is due back in South Africa. His spokespeople were not immediately available for comment.