Burundi’s government has said it will not participate in stalled talks to end months of political crisis unless it is first consulted on who else was taking part.
The government went further to issue a presidential statement that was broadcast on national radio and issued a set of conditions to the government joining the so-called Burundi “dialogue.”
“The Burundi government must be consulted (as) we must be in agreement on the persons who should be invited, the dates and the place,” said Willy Nyamitwe, communications officer for the presidency
We strongly urge all stakeholders to fully participate without preconditions or red lines.
He added that authorities are waiting for an official invitation to the talks that are being pushed by the international community as the best way to avoid civil war in the country.
The regionally-mediated dialogue between all Burundians was announced last weekend by former Tanzania president Benjamin Mkapa and they are scheduled to take place from May 2 to 6 in Arusha.
The resumption of the dialogue was welcomed by the US state department in a statement late Tuesday as the best means to restoring peace and stability to Burundi.
“We strongly urge all stakeholders to fully participate without preconditions or red lines,” it said.
The main opposition umbrella group CNARED said it was prepared to take part in Monday’s talks in Arusha, though it had not yet received an official invitation.
“The government ought to be aware that it is not part of the mediation but is a party to the conflict, just like CNARED,” said its communications officer Jeremie Minani.
Burundi’s current troubles began after President Pierre Nkurunziza’s controversial decision last April to run for a third term, a vote he won amid opposition boycotts in July.
More than 400 people have been killed in the violence while over 270,000 Burundians have fled to neighbouring countries.