9 August 2017

Burundi: Kingdom of Netherlands Still Supports Inter-Burundian Dialogue, Says Katja Lasseur

The Special Envoy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the Great Lakes Region made a five-day visit to Burundi. She says Netherlands believes that only the Arusha inter-Burundian dialogue can help solve the current Burundi crisis.

The Kingdom of the Netherlands is convinced that the Burundi crisis will be resolved through the inter-Burundian dialogue led by former Tanzanian President, William Benjamin Mkapa, said Katja Lasseur, Special Envoy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the Great Lakes Region on Wednesday 8th August, during her five-day visit to Burundi.

"I hope this peace talk process will accelerate this time. I hope all political actors are ready to talk to each other in order to better prepare for the 2020 elections," said Katja.

She said the purpose of her visit to Burundi was to see the current security and political situation. She also said she talked with political actors and authorities about the dialogue process. "We have analyzed together how the Kingdom of the Netherlands can continue to support this process of political dialogue in order to find a sustainable solution to the current crisis", Katja said.

She said she had noticed a significant improvement in the political and security situation compared with 2015. However, she said, the current calm in the country does not mean that the main cause of the current Burundi crisis that erupted since 2015 has been resolved. "So, I think it's necessary to keep working together to find the solution to this political crisis," Katja said.

She calls on Burundians to be patient in relation to the slow progress of the dialogue. According to her, leading the international negotiations is difficult. "Mkapa continues his work to facilitate the inter-Burundian negotiations. He is trying to find ways to bring the government and opposition together, "Katja said.

Burundi has plunged into a violent political crisis since President Pierre Nkurunziza announced a controversial run for a third term, which he won in contested elections in July 2015.

Since then, the international community has demanded a dialogue to restore peace. The current crisis caused more than 12,000 deaths and forced more than 400,000 Burundians into exile, according to the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH).

In March 2016, the East African Community Heads of State appointed William Mkapa, facilitator in the Burundi conflict. The latter has already organized consultations and dialogue sessions, but he has not been able to put the government and opposition at the same table of negotiations

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