Closure of the Inter-Burunid Dialogue
Remarks by H.E Benjamin Mkapa
I wish to thank you all for coming to Arusha to participate in consultations on the Inter-Burundi Dialogue. The high turnout has been very impressive and I feel very encouraged. I am also particularly touched by the presence of our international partners who have expressed support to the process.
For this first session of consultations, my office invited a wide range of participants from the Government of the Republic of Burundi, political parties allied with the Government, political parties that participated in the elections last year, political parties that did not participate in the elections, other political actors, the National Commission for Internal Dialogue, civil society organisations, women, youth, religious groups and the Federal Chamber of Commerce. A few of those who received the invitations declined to come.
During these four days, we have had very fruitful consultations. At any moment there were no acrimonious interventions. All of you showed a high degree of civility, patriotism and a great desire to own the dialogue. It is evident that you are yearning for peace and a stop to killings and assassinations. I note that there is tremendous aversion to violence, targeted killings, and the realisation that war is not a solution to the crisis. Some of you have expressed concerns about the economic decline obtaining in the country because of the crisis.
I hope that during your stay here in Arusha, you were able to interact and exchange widely on issues of general concern.
In the next two weeks, I will continue and complete the consultations with those who did not come during this session, but whom I feel might have positive contributions to make to the process. I will also consult with the Mediator in order to determine the way forward. Thereafter, I expect to convene a dialogue session possibly during the third week of June.
In the meantime, I would like to request you to prepare yourselves and choose representatives who will be able to present your views fully at the next sessions. I would also appreciate if delegations could come prepared with written memoranda outlining their positions on the way forward.
In conclusion, I wish to thank you for attending these consultations, your positive contributions and determination to find a solution to the crisis. I also wish you a safe return to your respective destinations.