Burundi’s foreign minister said his government believes the talks in Uganda’s capital among Burundian rival parties aimed at finding solutions to the country’s crisis went well even though no substantive issues were discussed.
However, Alain Nyamitwe said his government was not pleased with the group invited to represent all opposition parties in Burundi. He said with as many as 43 political parties in the country, it is not acceptable for one group to represent everyone.
In addition, Nyamitwe said, the group – CNARED – chosen to represent all opposition parties has been involved in violence and has no popular following.
“We would have hoped to have many more groups speaking. Unfortunately what happened was that the opposition was given only one slot, and of course we were not happy about the group which was selected, we do not believe that it is a legitimate group because it doesn’t have that many followers in the country,” said Nyamitwe.
CNARED is a coalition that claims to uphold the Arusha peace accord that brought to an end Burundi’s civil war in 2006. It accuses President Pierre Nkurunziza of violating the Arusha agreement.
The Burundian government has refused face to face talks with CNARED because it said the group is a “terrorist organization” that was behind the May 2015 aborted coup. Nyamitwe also accused the group of recruiting Burundian refugees to fight against the government.
“What I know is that some of the people who are part of that coalition have been put in the limelight by international organizations which have been accused of recruiting soldiers in Rwanda and also recruiting youths from refugee camps to go fight in Burundi,” Nyamitwe said.
Nyamitwe also reiterated his government’s opposition to proposed African Union troops in Burundi.