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Burundi government are absent at current Arusha peace talks

DAR ES SALAAM Tanzania (Xinhua) -- Peace talks aimed at bringing a lasting peace and harmony in Burundi, a member state of the East African Community (EAC), stalled on Wednesday after representatives from Burundi government were absent.

By late Wednesday representatives of the government of President Pierre Nkurunziza had not reported in the Tanzanian northern tourist city of Arusha, the venue of the fifth round of talks.

This forced former Tanzania Benjamin Mkapa, the facilitator, to postpone the talks, possibly to Thursday, said sources privy to the talks.

Informal discussions, though, have been underway at a tourist lodge on the outskirts of Arusha city involving mainly the opposition leaders in exile.

There were also officials of the opposition parties who flew in directly from Bujumbura but none from the ruling CNDD-FDD party.

The leader of the opposition Uprona party in exile, Charles Nditiye, said it was meaningless for the peace dialogue to continue without the participation of the government in power.

"I don’t see any prospects if the government is not represented," he told journalists.

Nditiye, who is based in Belgium, said there are up to 60 representatives from various Burundi political parties, including CNARED, a loose coalition of Burundi exiles operating mainly from Europe.

Another opposition leader, Chauvineau Mugwengezo, also expressed his concern over the slow pace of mediation efforts.

He called on all Burundi politicians to forge a common ground that would ensure successful attainment of peace in their country through dialogue.

Mugwengezo, president of UPD party, faulted the government for failure to send its representatives to the talks, saying it was a sign of lack of committment.

He called on regional leaders in the EAC to give every necessary support to former president Mkapa and his mediation team.

Launched in December 2015, the inter-Burundi dialogue is aimed at finding a solution to the political crisis in Burundi, but the previous four rounds have made no concrete progress.

Burundi plunged into a crisis in April 2015 when President Pierre Nkurunziza decided to run his controversial third term bid, which he won in July 2015. His candidature, which was opposed by the opposition and civil society groups, resulted in a wave of protests, violence and even a failed coup in May 2015.


China and Burundi aim to further pragmatic co-operation

BUJUMBURA Burundi (Xinhua) -- A key Chinese political adviser and Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza on Tuesday pledged to further enhance mutual political trust and deepen pragmatic cooperation between their two countries.

In recent years, the relationship between China and Burundi entered the best period in history, Liu Qibao, vice chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) who headed a delegation, said at a meeting with Nkurunziza in Bujumbura, capital of the central African country.

China is willing to translate the traditional friendship between the two countries into more tangible results that can benefit the two peoples, he said.

During the meeting, Liu highlighted the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, China’s achievements in social and economic development over the past 40 years since its reform and opening-up, especially since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, and the Belt and Road Initiative.

Nkurunziza spoke highly of the relationship between the two countries and the great achievements China has made through its reform and opening-up.

He expressed Burundi’s willingness to further strengthen exchanges and cooperation with China and promote the in-depth development of the bilateral relations.

During his visit, Liu also met with President of the National Assembly of Burundi Pascal Nyabenda and Burundi Senate Speaker Reverien Ndikuriyo respectively.


Burundi ruling party urge International Support against 'Impunity'


Burundi peace talks falter as President Pierre Nkurunziza's government fail to attend



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