KIGALI Belgian foreign affairs and deputy prime minister Didier Reynders said his country is set to hold a meeting with opposition officials from Burundi, and DR Congo as a measure of solving conflict in both nations.
Speaking at a joint presser with Rwanda foreign affairs Minister Louise Mushikiwabo in Kigali, Reynder said Brussels is interested in contributing to peace building in Burundi and therefore will engage Tanzania former president Benjamin Mkapa, the chief facilitator of East African community Inter-Burundi dialogue to see its success.
The seemingly jovial diplomats said the political situation in Burundi is very alarming, yet it was the responsibility of Burundi warring factions and other stakeholders within the country to devise means to end the violence.
“It is neither Belgium nor Rwanda that will address the problems in Burundi, DR Congo, or elsewhere,” Mushikiwabo said during a news conference after their meeting.
Rwanda has pledged support to the peace process which is widely read as a drop in the ocean. Warring factions failed to turn-up for the East African Community led dialogues in Arusha in May under unclear circumstances.
“For the case of Rwanda, we are an immediate neighbor and are interested in the stability of the region and this means that we are ready to lend a hand if it is necessary,” Mushikiwabo said
The Burundi situation has sparked a refugee crisis in East Africa as more than 260,000 people, including women and children are estimated to have left the country following the political tensions in April 2015.
Last week, President Pierre Nkurunziza gave the armed wing of his opponents in the Southern province 15 days to surrender and promised to fight them mercilessly if they defied the call, a thing which seemed to have normalized violence.
“Give phone calls to your brothers who are members of armed groups and tell them that we came here. We gave them 15 days only to surrender to security forces. Beyond the 15 days, we will fight them mercilessly,” Nkurunziza told a listening crowd.