The Government of Burundi has always valued the efforts of the international community and particularly the African Union to find a solution to the problems that Burundi is going through.
It is in this context that the Government has taken note of the contents of the Communiqué of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union at its 551st meeting held on 17 October 2015 and the subsequent decisions taken.
However, the Government of Burundi wishes to comment some conclusions of the meeting.
1. The Government of Burundi would like to remind that human rights observers and military experts of the African Union are on ground in Burundi since June 2015 following a decision of the same Peace and Security Council of the African Union and the Government appreciates so far the level of collaboration with these experts.
The latter are witnesses of the disarmament work that is being led by the Government and how it is conducted. The same experts are also witnesses of the violence observed daily and their alleged perpetrators.
2. Regarding the continuation of dialogue, the Government wishes to recall that it has always been open on this issue. The Government constantly reiterated that position while showing goodwill gestures in this direction.
3. It is in this context that the Government of Burundi welcomes the work achieved by the Ugandan Facilitation which, thanks to the dialogue initiated under the auspices of President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, has allowed the participation of all parties in the inclusive elections including coalition of the radical opposition, elections which were attended by more than 70% of voters, and resulting in the establishment of democratically elected institutions and legitimately recognized with the opposition coalition represented therein at all levels.
4. Also in the context of dialogue, the Government would like to highlight that a National Commission for Inter Burundian Dialogue was established and that its members have been appointed based on an inclusive and transparent process possible. This dialogue is open to all citizens, both from inside and from the Diaspora.
5. However, the Government would like to stress once again that dialogue, no matter how inclusive it may be, will under no circumstance neither hamper the work of Justice nor favor impunity.
6. For this purpose, the Government of Burundi would like once again to thank the African Union for condemning the attempted coup of May 13, 2015 and invite its Peace and security Council to remain consistent with itself and show the same firmness and the same treatment towards the authors of the failed coup in Burundi like that reserved by the African Union to those responsible in this kind of situation throughout Africa such as in the most recent example of Burkina Faso.
7. The Government of Burundi therefore expected the African Union to provide necessary support so that the perpetrators of the attempted coup on the run and living in countries known in Africa or elsewhere shall be extradited and tried, with the Government guaranteeing a fair trial.
The same expectation applies to the instigators of the insurrection who recruited children into armed violence, an offense that is considered everywhere in the world as a crime against humanity. The Government is still waiting for the Peace and Security Council of the African Union support for the perpetrators to be prosecuted, tried and punished as seen elsewhere.
8. Regarding the security issue, the Government of Burundi is surprised that the Peace and Security Council of the African Union in its statement, was quick to draw conclusions about the security situation in Burundi to the point of proposing sanctions before the release of the joint report of the Government and the Experts appointed by the Council itself and whose work is underway.
9. The Government is also surprised at the decision of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union to increase and fix unilaterally the number of observers and military experts without negotiation or prior agreement with the Government as required by accepted principles.
The Government wonders how such a decision as unilateral as incomprehensible can be implemented without the cooperation of the Government and deliver results expected by the Council and the entire international community.
10. On the other hand, the Government welcomes the position of the African Union’s Security Council to condemn the use of armed rebellion and other violence to resolve the current crisis, a position it shares with the Government of Burundi.
The Government nevertheless notes that despite efforts to contain it, the violence initially carried out under the disguise of peaceful demonstrations has gradually evolved into violent insurgency in some parts of the capital where it is developing into classic terrorism with kidnapping of persons and targeted killings with security forces constituting the prime targets.
11. The African Union is urged here, to put sufficient pressure to those who provide weapons, training or funding to these remaining elements of the recent uprising connected with the election period, both national and overseas, to get them stop this dangerous undertaking that could lead in the future to a terrorist nucleus difficult to deal with.
12. Regarding the planned sanctions, the Government asks the Peace and Security Council of the African Union to show greater consistency inasmuch dramatic situations with heavier casualties have been observed almost everywhere in Africa, without prompting the African Union to take such extreme measures.
Wisdom would dictate to wait for the release of an unbiased and agreed on report, especially since such a decision at this particular time may even prove to be against productive as it is likely to radicalize positions, with the risk of compromising peace sought by the Council.
Done at Bujumbura, October 20, 2015
Secretary-General and Spokesman
of the Government.-