UN chief urges Burundian President to ‘pursue path of inclusivity and reconciliation’

21 August 2015 | Press Releases

Burundi, 20 August 2015 – Noting the inauguration today of Pierre Nkurunziza for his third term as President of Burundi, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged him to “pursue a path of inclusivity and reconciliation,” and reiterated his call on all Burundian stakeholders to undertake a broad and transparent political dialogue.

People demonstrate in Bujumbura against a decision by Burundi’s ruling party to nominate President Pierre Nkurunziza to run for a third term (April 2015). Photo: Desire Nimubona/IRIN

People demonstrate in Bujumbura against a decision by Burundi’s ruling party to nominate President Pierre Nkurunziza to run for a third term (April 2015). Photo: Desire Nimubona/IRIN

In a statement issued by his spokesperson in New York, Mr. Ban took note of President Nkurunziza’s inauguration and reiterated his call for all Burundian stakeholders to undertake an inclusive and transparent political dialogue under the leadership of the East African Community (EAC) Facilitator, President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda.

“He reiterates the readiness of the United Nations to support such a dialogue,” the statement continued, adding that the creation of a government of national unity, as called for in the 6 July EAC summit communiqué, needs to derive from “such a genuine and open dialogue, which is necessary to overcome existing deep political divisions.”

The Secretary-General also noted President Nkurunziza’s stated intention to serve as President of all Burundians and “he urges the President to pursue a path of inclusivity and reconciliation in this spirit,” the statement concluded.

Burundi has been in the grips of a political crisis since late April, when Mr. Nkurunziza was put on the ballot for a controversial third term. Tensions intensified when he won the July 21 election. More than 100,000 people have fled to neighbouring countries in the weeks ahead of and following the polls.

Tensions remain high – just last week, the UN human rights office warned that the situation is spiralling out of control amid a spate of deadly election related violence – and Mr. Ban has repeatedly appealed for an end to politically – motivated violence and urged all Burundians to peacefully settle their differences without delay.

During a phone call with Mr. Nkurunziza on 6 August, the Secretary-General urged him to resume the political dialogue, which had been suspended since 19 July. He also encouraged the Burundian authorities to work closely with the Ugandan-led facilitation on behalf of the East African Community.