BURUNDI PEACE TALKS TO RESUME IN TANZANIA ON JULY 12

The fragile Burundi peace talks under the facilitation of former Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa will resume in Arusha on July 12, organizers said on Saturday.

Richard Owora Othieno, a Communications Officer with the East African Community (EAC), organizers of the talks, said more than 70 politicians and civil society groups from Burundi were expected in Arusha for another round of talks.

The two-day talks follow the completion of the first round which came to an end in May this year, when its facilitator, Mkapa said he was willing to meet Burundians who were not represented in the first dialogue.

Othieno said the 75 participants will include former heads of state, representatives of political parties, religious leaders, civil society organizations, women and youth and the Chamber of Commerce from Burundi.

The assurance of the holding of the peace talks from the EAC came amidst reports that some delegates were expected to ditch the crucial dialogue, spelling doom for the prospects of finding a lasting solution to the political crisis in the tiny central African country, which is a member of the EAC.

"Different groups from Burundi have expressed their willingness of showing up and participating in the dialogue, and reports that some will skip the occasion are baseless and unfounded," said Othieno.

He said the facilitator had already met different groups in Burundi and also consulted the mediator of the Inter-Burundi Dialogue, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, before he convened the second dialogue.

Othieno said the two-day dialogue will discuss substantively and agree on a common basis for stability, development and the future of Burundi.

During the first dialogue in May this year, some of the participants revealed their preference of relocating the venue of the dialogue from Arusha to Burundi.

Burundi Minister of External Relations and International Cooperation Alain Aime Nyamitwe was quoted on the sidelines of the May dialogue as saying that they had come to Arusha out of respect of the EAC.

On his part, former Burundi ambassador to Russia, Guillaume Ruzoviyo , said although they were confident with the facilitator, he believed that peace would only return to his country once the dialogue convened in Burundi.

More than 500 people in Burundi have been killed and over 500,000 people fled to neighboring countries, mostly Tanzania, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), since the chaos started last year in the capital Bujumbura.

Burundi plunged into bloody chaos from April 2015 when the country's President Pierre Nkurunziza announced his intention to vie for the presidency for a third five-year-term which he went on to win during the controversial elections held in July 2015.

Source: Nam News Network