Washington, DC - The United States is encouraged by the recent consultations held in Arusha, Tanzania, and the progress towards a comprehensive dialogue amongst stakeholders to peacefully resolve the crisis in Burundi. We commend former President Mkapa’s leadership in facilitating the consultations and appreciate his pledge to ensure greater inclusivity by meeting in the near future with representatives not in attendance at this round of consultations. We also welcome the sense of urgency demonstrated by the participants in setting imminent dates for next steps.
It is of utmost importance that all stakeholders be represented in the dialogue, including new and former opposition parties and civil society leaders. We fully support President Mkapa’s strong statements – consistent with the African Union and United Nations Resolutions – that the Arusha Agreement is not open for negotiation. An inclusive dialogue that protects this foundation of Burundi’s past decade of progress provides the best and only peaceful path to a sustainable solution to this crisis. To create the conditions that foster dialogue, all sides must cease any and all violence, and the Government must cease all acts of torture and political detentions. The United States stands ready to support this peace process, as well as to impose additional targeted sanctions against individuals responsible for human rights abuses.