Burundi Opposition Leader Reports New Talks With Government

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A Burundi opposition figure said he met with government officials in talks convened to end the East African nation’s political crisis, a week before parliamentary elections.

Frederic Bamvuginyumvira, a former vice president turned opposition leader, said by phone that he attended negotiations, without giving further details. Government spokesman Philippe Nzobonariba said he was in a meeting and declined to comment.

Burundi has been roiled by almost two months of unrest sparked by President Pierre Nkurunziza’s decision to seek a third term in an election that’s been rescheduled for July 15. Opponents say Nkurunziza’s bid to extend his tenure violates a two-term limit set out in peace agreements that in 2005 brought an end to a 12-year civil war.

At least 77 people have been killed and more than 1,000 detained in protests since late April, a Burundian human-rights group said last week. The parliamentary vote was rescheduled for June 29.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appointed Sengalese diplomat Abdoulaye Bathily, the head of the UN Regional Office for Central Africa, to oversee negotiations, according to a June 21 statement. The UN’s special envoy for the Great Lakes region, Said Djinnit, withdrew from a mediating role earlier this month following opposition allegations he favored the ruling party.

Nkurunziza’s CNDD-FDD will decline to participate in talks that may disrupt the smooth running of elections, the party said in a statement on Tuesday. Political opponents trying to stop the polls will be seen as conspirators involved in a failed coup attempt last month, according to the statement.

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