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Ugandan mediators organising Burundi crisis meeting for 'all stakeholders', says regional cooperation minister

AFP Photo/Peter Busomoke

Uganda-led mediation on the crisis in Burundi will continue “shortly” with a meeting of all stakeholders, Philemon Mateke, Uganda’s minister of state for regional affairs told RFI on Tuesday. Violence has escalated in recent weeks since unrest sparked by President Pierre Nkurunziza’s controversial decision to stand for a third term in office earlier this year.

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“The mediator is trying to organise a meeting for all stakeholders in Burundi – government, opposition and civil society organisations,” Mateke said in a telephone interview, referring to Ugandan Defence Minister Crispus Kiyonga who has been delegated by President Yoweri Museveni to lead mediation efforts.

“What is important is that it takes place in a neutral country,” said Mateke. “Every aspect of Burundi will be discussed, provided those discussions can contribute towards a solution of peace and stability in Burundi.”

At least 87 people were killed during coordinated attacks on three military installations in Bujumbura on Friday morning. Following the attacks, security forces carried out extrajudicial killings over the weekend, breaking down doors looking for young men and shooting them at close range, according to witnesses. Some victims had their arms tied behind their backs, say reports.

There have already been several meetings during Ugandan-led mediation and Museveni visited Burundi in July with talks centred on a proposal to create a government of national unity. In November, Kiyonga travelled to Bujumbura for further consultations. The Uganda defence minister’s visit followed that of a Kenyan envoy who went to Burundi’s capital to discuss the crisis.

The costs of hosting future talks on Burundi will be picked up by the European Union, with a meeting “about to be convened, we hope”, according to Kristian Schmidt, the EU ambassador to Uganda, who responded on Tuesday to a question on Twitter.

RFI contacted Kiyonga several times for an update on mediation efforts, but he was unavailable for comment.

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