Washington, DC - The United States welcomes the announcement by former Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa, as the facilitator of the East African Community (EAC)-led Burundian dialogue, that the next round of talks will take place May 2–6 in Arusha, Tanzania. We continue to support the regionally mediated dialogue as the best means to restoring peace and stability to Burundi and strongly urge all stakeholders to fully participate without preconditions or redlines.
The resumption of dialogue is critical, as the situation in the country is increasingly dire. This year-long crisis already has claimed over 400 lives and led over a quarter million Burundians to flee their country. We continue to see reports of sharp increases in killings, including the recent assassination of General Kararuza, torture, forced disappearances, and sexual violence, along with the use of illegal detention facilities by government security forces and armed factions of the ruling party youth wing. This horrific violence must end, and those responsible for atrocities must be held accountable. The opening of a preliminary examination in Burundi by the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court sends a strong warning in this regard to all perpetrators and would-be perpetrators.
The United States stands ready to support the EAC and all Burundian stakeholders in their pursuit of a peaceful, consensual solution to this crisis. The sooner this crisis is resolved, the sooner we can help Burundi realize greater development and prosperity.