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JOINT PRESS RELEASE | Office of the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Great Lakes in Africa

The Team of International Envoys Support to the AUPSC Communique on Burundi Nairobi, 24 October 2015 – The Team of international Envoys for the Great Lakes Region of Africa welcomes and strongly support the African Union Peace and Security Council’s (AUPSC) forward-leaning October 17 Communiqué regarding the ongoing crisis in Burundi. The Envoys fully agree that « only a genuine and inclusive dialogue, based on the respect of the Arusha Agreement, would enable the Burundian stakeholders to find a consensual solution to the crisis facing their country, preserve peace and consolidate democracy and the rule of law ». They endorse the AU PSC’s call for an earliest possible resumption of the mediation process under the leadership of President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and for the full cooperation of the Burundian Government and all other concerned stakeholders with the Mediator. They further welcome the request to the Chairperson of the Commission to initiate consultations with the EAC Mediator with a view to “speedily convening, in Kampala or in Addis Ababa, at the AU Headquarters, an inter‐Burundian dialogue involving all concerned stakeholders, both those who are in Burundi and those outside of the country, in order to find a consensual solution to the current crisis.” Amidst a deepening humanitarian, political and security crisis, the Envoys stand ready to support the AU, the East African Community (EAC), President Museveni in his capacity as mediator, and Burundian stakeholders to pursue with urgency a credible, all-inclusive dialogue. We support the AU’s demand for immediate cessation of violence and accountability on all sides. We share the AU’s concern about the non-inclusive and non-consensual nature of the June and July 2015 general elections and the rejection of the recourse to armed rebellion to resolve the current crisis. The Envoys support the AUPSC’s decision to impose targeted sanctions against all those contributing to the violence and impeding the resolution of this crisis. The Envoys further support the AUPSC’s decision to launch an in-depth investigation into the violations of human rights and other abuses against civilians in Burundi and to deploy additional human rights observers and military experts. Given the stakes of escalation, the Envoys commend the request to the AU Commission to expedite and finalize, in consultation with the EAC and the East African Standby Force, the contingency planning in order to respond to the possibility of much wider-spread violence, should the situation so require. The African Union, along with the East African Community, has a crucial leadership role to play in resolving the crisis in Burundi with the support of the United Nations and other international partners. The Envoys express support for implementing the strong steps taken by the AUPSC at its 551 meeting to find a peaceful solution to the current crisis in Burundi. The team of international special envoys is composed of the Special Envoy of the United Nations Secretary-General to the Great Lakes Region Said Djinnit, African Union Special Envoy Ibrahima Fall, U.S. Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region of Africa Thomas Perriello, European Union Senior Coordinator for the Great Lakes Region Koen Vervaeke, and Belgian Special Envoy for the African Great Lakes Region Frank De Coninck.

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