LONDON, United Kingdom, May 24, 2016/APO (African Press Organization)/ —
Following the conclusion of the first round of the Dialogue, UK Special Envoy to the African Great Lakes, Danae Dholakia, said:
I strongly welcome the resumption of the internationally mediated Burundi Dialogue in Arusha from 21-24 May facilitated by former Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa. I congratulate President Mkapa for his clear and even-handed approach, which has provided a strong foundation on which to build. As the President noted in his closing comments, there were some key opposition and civil society representatives who were, for one reason or another, not able to attend. I commend his initiative to hold a further consultative event with opposition and civil society voices unable to come to Arusha, and his commitment to doing this in the next two weeks.
I fully agree with President Mkapa in urging all sides to participate fully in this process, in the spirit of negotiation and compromise. For the sake of the people of Burundi, swift progress is essential. I strongly welcome his desire to hold the next full dialogue session in the week commencing 16 June. No party should seek to block or slow down this momentum. In particular I strongly support President Mkapa’s call for everyone to give this dialogue a chance to succeed by ceasing all armed and political violence. I sincerely hope that all parties can reach an agreement which provides the basis for sustainable peace and security in Burundi, built on the strong foundations of the Arusha Agreement. The UK stands ready to support the attainment of that goal.