30 December 2015

Burundi: AU Threatens Burundi Rivals With Sanctions

Photo: Stephen Wandera/Nation Media Group
President Yoweri Museveni, left, greets former Burundian presidents Jean Baptiste Bagaza, right, Domitien Ndayizeye, second right, Sylvestre Ntibantunganya, and Pierre Buyoya at Entebbe State House, Uganda on December 28, 2015. The four are part of the mediation team aimed at ending months of violence in Burundi.

Kampala — The chairperson of the Commission of the African Union (AU), Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, yesterday warned the belligerent parties in Burundi that they could be subjected to severe sanctions should either party jeopardise the peace talks.

Ms Zuma asked the warring parties to refrain from violence as the East African Community continues to push for a peaceful end to the conflict.

"... the Peace and Security Council of the AU decided that all those whose action could jeopardise the inter-Burundian dialogue, including attacks by armed groups against government facilities and other targets, as well as refusal to respond to the invitation of the mediator shall be subjected to sanctions as provided for in the relevant decisions of [African Union] Council and other measures to be agreed upon," Ms Zuma said.

Burundi's president Pierre Nkurunziza, however, skipped the talks.

Conditions

The Burundian delegation yesterday gave a condition that they would not participate in further negotiations if opposition members who allegedly participated in the failed July coup attempt continued attending the negotiation meetings.

But Ms Zuma insists that those who refuse to honour the invitation of the mediator would also face AU Security Council sanctions.

The opposition and the government delegations left Uganda yesterday afternoon after the Monday meeting attended by four former Burundian presidents at Entebbe State House.

AU also offered to talk to the Burundi government over the proposed deployment of the continental peacekeeping force. Last week, Burundi rejected the AU proposal to deploy the force.

Ms Zuma said yesterday AU was ready to engage, without any delay, the discussions with the government of Burundi to agree on the modalities for the deployment.

"The rapid deployment of African Prevention and Protection Mission in Burundi will go a long way in contributing to the creation of conditions conducive to the successful completion of the inter-Burundian dialogue," the statement said.

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