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U.N. chief urges Burundi parties to participate in peace talks


The United Nations has called on political parties in Burundi to commit fully to peace talks to resolve a two-year old political crisis in the east African nation..

Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza’s government said earlier this month it would not attend the talks led by the East African Community (EAC) aimed at ending the crisis sparked by his decision to run for a third term in office.

The Burundian government, which has repeatedly accused the U.N. of bias, said it objected to the presence of senior U.N. adviser Benomar Jamal at the talks, which are being held in neighboring Tanzania.

The country’s main opposition grouping said it would attend the talks, which are being mediated by Benjamin Mkapa, a former president of Tanzania.

U.N Secretary General Antonio Guterres said in a report to the Security Council that the U.N would keep supporting the efforts to peacefully resolve the impasse, in order to secure stability in the region.

The UN has banned from its peacekeeping missions a number of Burundi army officers, including the current Army Spokesman Gaspard Baratuza, alleged to have violated human rights.

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