Inter-Burundi Dialogue on course
The East African Community (EAC) Secretariat notes with concern the misinterpretation/misrepresentation of its Press Release issued on 1st July, 2016 following the conclusion of the 24th Meeting of the Sectoral Council of Ministers Responsible for EAC Affairs and Planning (SCMEAP) on 30th June, 2016 in Nairobi, Kenya.
The article – EAC Reviews Faltering Burundi Talks - which appeared in the Sunday Citizen of 3rd July, 2016, gives the impression that the Sectoral Council deliberated on the Burundi Dialogue, which was not the case at all. The directive to the Secretariat to undertake a Joint Security Assessment Mission to the Republic of Burundi to re-evaluate the Security situation by 31st July, 2016 was not in the context of the ongoing Inter-Burundi Dialogue but the resumption of EAC activities in that Partner State.
The EAC Secretariat, late last year suspended meetings in Burundi due to the then fluid security situation in the country.
The EAC Meetings were resumed in the Republic of Burundi in line with the Council Directive in August 2015 and in line with the approved EAC Calendar of Activities. The Secretariat however, continues to undertake regular assessment of the security situation in the country as directed by Policy Organs from time to time, the SCMEAP being one of these directives.
The responsibility of the Inter Burundian Dialogue is the mandate of the Summit and as you are aware, at its 17th Ordinary Meeting held on 2nd March, 2016 in Ngurdoto, Arusha, Tanzania the Summit appointed H.E. Benjamin William Mkapa, former President of the United Republic of Tanzania, as the Facilitator of the Inter-Burundi Dialogue. The EAC Secretariat provides support as requested for by the Facilitator in the course of the Dialogue.
Since H.E. Mkapa assumed his role, a successful Dialogue was held in Arusha from 21st – 24th May, 2016 attended by 83 Burundians and a host of diplomatic and international partners and well-wishers. The facilitator also held consultative sessions in Brussels with Burundians living in the diaspora from 9th to 11th June, 2016.
The talks have therefore been taking place and the results have been productive. The Office of the Facilitator intends to hold another round of talks in the very near future and therefore it is erroneous to give an impression that the Inter-Burundi Dialogue is faltering.
We call on Media Houses and Reporters to seek clarification from the Office of the Facilitator on all issues concerning the Inter-Burundi Dialogue.