Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Burundi: US backs protesters against president's third term bid

The United States Government reiterates its position that the Government of Burundi should adhere to the tenets of the Arusha Agreement, to include the provisions on term limits.

"The Arusha Agreement, which was carefully negotiated and accepted by most parties and sectors of Burundian society, brought an end to years of tragic civil war and established the foundation for Burundi’s post-conflict recovery. President Nkurunziza's decision to disregard the term limit provision of the Arusha Agreement has destabilized Burundi and the sub-region, triggered violence, and endangered Burundi’s economic well-being," the U.S. Department of State said.

"The government’s troubling actions to severely restrict political space and press freedoms, violently disrupt political protests, pressure the Constitutional Court and Electoral Commission, and reported use of an armed ruling-party youth militia to intimidate protestors and political opponents contradicts the basic principles of democratic governance and starkly contradicts President Nkurunziza’s claim that he is dedicated to respecting the Arusha Agreement and the rule of law."

After President Pierre Nkurunziza of Burundi reveals his plan to run for the third term changing the constitution, the country has been in turmoil for the past weeks while tens of thousands of people are estimated to exile to neighboring countries- mainly Tanzania.

The United States echoes the East African Community’s calls for a postponement of the elections in Burundi, urges all parties in Burundi to cease violence and exercise restraint, and calls for the urgent disarmament of all armed youth groups allied to political parties, according to the statement from the U.S. Department of State.

"The United States also encourages the region to play a leadership role in resolving the crisis, and encourages high-level visits from Burundi’s neighbors to Burundi to reiterate the importance of upholding the Arusha Agreement and ensuring the conditions necessary for free, fair, and credible elections,"  it said.


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