The East African Community has commended President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, the Mediator and the Facilitator, Benjamin William Mkapa, former President of the United Republic of Tanzania, for successfully conducting the Inter-Burundi Dialogue (IBD).
The Inter-Burundi Dialogue resumed two weeks ago at the Arusha International Conference Centre (AICC) in the United Republic of Tanzania under the leadership of Mkapa.
The recent meeting was attended by the Government of Burundi and most of the key political parties and civil society organizations to take part in the consultations aimed at reconciling people of Burundi.
The participation of the Burundian stakeholders in the meeting is key to putting an end to the chaos that befell the country in April 2015 after President Pierre Nkurunziza insisted on seeking a third term.
Although Nkurunzisa won the disputed July elections, most of the citizenry did not accept the results, leading to the political mayhem that left hundreds dead, while others took refuge in neighboring countries.
According to EAC, the number of those attending IBD has increased significantly during the recent consultations held from 21st to 24th May 2016, in Arusha, Tanzania.
As put clearly by the Facilitator, the Inter-Burundi Dialogue is an EAC-led process under the Mediatorship of President Museveni, a Member of the EAC Heads of State Summit.The Summit appointed former President Mkapa of the United Republic of Tanzania as the Facilitator of the Dialogue to support the Mediator.
Only Burundi can solve its problems
At the Arusha meeting, Mr Mkapa urged all the Parties to the conflict to renounce violence and seek a peaceful solution to the conflict.
“We are all aware that this is a Burundi problem, and it can be solved only by the Burundi themselves,” he said adding his role is only “to facilitate the Burundi to dialogue and reach an amicable solution. My plan in this endeavor is to give ample time and space to all stakeholders to express their views on the way forward,” said the facilitator.
Following the successful 4-day Inter-Burundi Dialogue, which included closed-door consultation sessions between the Facilitator and the diverse stakeholders, UK Special Envoy to the African Great Lakes, Danae Dholakia, lauded the new development praising “President Mkapa for his clear and even-handed approach, which has provided a strong foundation on which to build.”
“We reiterate our support for the facilitator, former President Benjamin Mkapa, and applaud his determination to see the inter-Burundi dialogue succeed, under the terms of the Arusha agreement. We call on all Burundian stakeholders, particularly those who were not present at this first session, to commit themselves constructively and without reservations to this end. We renew our call to all the Burundian parties to eschew violence,” the country said in a statement.
On his part, the facilitator hailed the support to the process by United Nations, the African Union and the international community which support he added had ensured the smooth running of the Inter-Burundi Dialogue.
To support Burundi’s swift progress, the next full dialogue session is expected to take place in the week commencing June 16. There are calls for everyone to give dialogue a chance to succeed by ceasing all armed and political violence. It is hoped that all parties can reach an agreement which provides the basis for sustainable peace and security in Burundi, built on the strong foundations of the Arusha Agreement. The UK stands ready to support the attainment of that goal.
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