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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

Situation in Burundi remains fragile warns United Nations envoy

UNITED NATIONS New York (Xinhua) -- The top UN envoy for Burundi said Wednesday that the situation in the African country remains fragile as a result of lack of trust and dialogue between the government and opposition.

"The situation in Burundi remains fragile, in particular, due to the lack of inclusive political dialogue, but also due to the humanitarian, economic and financial difficulties and security threats," Michel Kafando, UN secretary-general’s special envoy for Burundi, told the Security Council.

After more than three years of tireless efforts through the inter-Burundian dialogue process, it is now necessary for the United Nations, the African Union, the sub-region and Burundi’s partners to re-evaluate the ways and means to help Burundi emerge from the current political crisis, he said in a briefing.

This thinking needs to be started, first and foremost, with the Burundians themselves, and then by the region, said Kafando.

The Burundi political crisis dates back to April 2015, when President Pierre Nkurunziza sought a controversial third term. Although Nkurunziza earlier this year declared that he would not seek re-election in 2020, the political crisis remains.

Kafando said both human rights and humanitarian situations in Burundi remain worrying.

The Burundian government has not resumed cooperation with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, he noted.

Human rights violations and abuses continue in the country, such as arbitrary arrest and forced disappearance and other forms of intimidation, said Kafando.

Some 1.7 million people in Burundi face food insecurity.

From January to October 2018, 52,260 refugees returned to the country while more than 380,000 refugees are living in other countries in the region, including 227,510 in Tanzania, he said.

Briefing the Security Council at the same meeting, Jurg Lauber, chair of the Burundi configuration of the UN Peacebuilding Commission, stressed the importance of the 2020 elections in the country.

"The elections of 2020 are already very much at the center of political attention in Burundi.

"It will be crucial for the future of the country that these elections be free, inclusive, democratic and peaceful, and that their results enjoy high legitimacy primarily inside the country, but also internationally," said Lauber, who is also Swiss ambassador to the United Nations.
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EARLIER REPORTS:

Burundi should no longer stay on United Nations
Security Council agenda says Chinese envoy

UNITED NATIONS New York (Xinhua) -- The question of Burundi should no longer stay on the agenda of the United Nations (UN) Security Council given the fact that the country has returned to calm, said a Chinese envoy on Wednesday.

China noticed the Burundian foreign minister’s announcement at this year’s General Debate of the UN General Assembly that calm has returned to Burundi and that the situation had remained under control, said Wu Haitao, China’s deputy permanent representative to the UN.

Burundi should not stay on the agenda of the Security Council as it no longer posed a security threat to the region or the world, according to Burundian Foreign Minister Ezechiel Nibigira.

China is therefore of the opinion that the Security Council should listen to Burundi and take a comprehensive, impartial and objective view of the situation in Burundi.

The council should make adjustments according to the latest developments and send out a positive message, Wu told the council.

The security situation in Burundi remains stable and the Burundian government is actively pushing forward the political process, he said.

China welcomes the positive developments, which serve as a manifestation of the capability and determination of the Burundian government and people to independently solve their political problems and safeguard peace and stability, he said.

The international community should rightfully respect Burundi’s ownership and leadership, and respect Burundi’s sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity, said Wu.

The international community should also fully respect the choices of the Burundian government and people, particularly on the issue of elections and the political process, he said.

China welcomes the efforts of regional and sub-regional groups in promoting the Burundian political process, and hopes that the groups will continue to enhance coordination with the Burundian government and provide constructive assistance.

At the same time, Burundi faces socio-economic and humanitarian challenges.

The international community should provide necessary support and assistance, said Wu.

China asks the international organizations concerned to resume economic cooperation and development aid to Burundi.

He said that China has always supported Burundi’s peace process and provided assistance within its capacity for Burundi’s rebuilding, and is willing to continue to play a constructive role in helping bring peace, stability and sustainable development in Burundi.
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Burundi elections must be free and credible: United Nations official

UNITED NATIONS New York (Xinhua) -- The 2020 elections in Burundi must be free, inclusive, democratic and peaceful as well as credible, said Jurg Lauber, chair of the Burundi configuration of the UN Peacebuilding Commission, on Wednesday.

"The elections of 2020 are already very much at the center of political attention in Burundi.

"It will be crucial for the future of the country that these elections be free, inclusive, democratic and peaceful, and that their results enjoy high legitimacy primarily inside the country, but also internationally," Lauber, who is Swiss ambassador to the United Nations, told the Security Council.

"I encourage the government of Burundi and its international partners to pursue their discussions about possible forms of assistance which the country may need in order to ensure the conduct of successful elections."

The announcement of President Pierre Nkurunziza not to seek re-election in 2020 was a significant development, said Lauber, who visited the country at the beginning of the month.

Leaders of the ruling party confirmed the intention of the president during his trip, said Lauber.

Some interlocutors expressed the hope that this announcement would contribute to easing the tensions among political actors ahead of the 2020 elections, he said.

He was not able to meet Nkurunziza due to "a last-minute change" in the president’s schedule, said Lauber.

But he said the upcoming elections should not distract from the fact that the socio-economic development of the country continues to require more attention and additional efforts.

Burundi’s international partners in Bujumbura unanimously welcomed the fact that the government had issued a new National Development Plan.

The plan has the potential to contribute to the well-being of the Burundian population and to enable an increased cooperation between the government and its international partners, he said.

"I encourage the government of Burundi and their partners to engage in an open and substantive strategic dialogue on the implementation of the plan, followed by sector-specific discussions on concrete projects.

"I also encourage bilateral and multilateral partners and the government of Burundi to continue their dialogue with a view to creating conducive conditions for the resumption of suspended assistance."

He also stressed the importance of an orderly and voluntary return of Burundian refugees and the realization of human rights.

The Burundi configuration of the Peacebuilding Commission remains committed to facilitating the dialogue between the government of Burundi and their international partners on all the issues, he said.

 

             

 

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