Burundian Delegation Visits Uganda Before Crisis Talks Resume

  • Officials met Ugandan president before Dec. 28 negotiations
  • Burundi government, opponents to meet in bid to restore peace

A Burundi government delegation held talks with Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, less than a week before political factions are due to meet in a bid to restore peace after eight months of violence.

The team, led by Army Chief of Staff General Evariste Ndayishimiye, visited Uganda to prepare for the talks being facilitated by the country that will begin Dec. 28, Lindah Nabusayi, Museveni’s press secretary, said by phone from Jinja, eastern Uganda. She didn’t give further details.

Burundi’s government, opposition and officials of neighboring East African countries will discuss a national-unity administration and the return of refugees, among other issues, in the first negotiations since July 19, Uganda Defense Minister Crispus Kiyonga said at the weekend. The main opposition coalition, Cnared, said it hasn’t been invited.

More than 400 people have been killed in Burundi since the nation descended into violence in April, when President Pierre Nkurunziza announced plans to run for re-election in a vote which he subsequently won. Opponents say he violated a two-term limit set out in accords that ended a civil war in 2005. The landlocked country holds 6 percent of the world’s nickel reserves.

Burundi’s parliament on Monday rejected the African Union’s plan to send 5,000 peacekeepers to quell the bloodshed, saying it would jeopardize the nation’s sovereignty. The AU on Dec. 18 asked member states to begin contributing troops and gave Burundi’s government four days to accept the deployment while warning that Burundian officials who didn’t cooperate may face sanctions.

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