There is hope for peace talks in Burundi following reports that the East African Community-led inter-Burundi dialogue, which held its last session in Arusha last year, is expected to resume as the facilitation team meets this week.
According to a source, former Tanzanian president Benjamin Mkapa, who is the facilitator, is expected to meet the mediator, Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni.
The regional mediated process launched two years ago is yet to bear fruit as the Burundi government had vowed not to hold dialogue with those it accuses of plotting the 2015 failed coup.
For good measure, Bujumbura boycotted the last two of the three dialogue sessions that took place in Arusha.
The government accuses opposition leaders outside the country of trying to topple President Pierre Nkurunziza’s government.
Last week, the European Parliament issued a resolution regretting the slow pace of the inter-Burundian dialogue and the lack of commitment by the Burundian government. The parliament urged the urgent resumption of talks, which it said should be truly inclusive and without preconditions.
The EU suspended direct aid to the Burundi government in 2015 citing gross human rights violations by some government officials, an accusation that Bujumbura has denied on several occasions.
Burundi ruling party CNDD-FDD last month urged the mediator to finalise the dialogue and asked all politicians to join the peace building process.