News / Africa

    AU Summit Ends Without Burundi Action

    African Union chairman Chadian President Idriss Deby, fourth left, receives the instruments of office from his predecessor Zimbabwean President, Robert Mugabe, as AU Commission Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, left, African Union chairman Chadian President Idriss Deby, fourth left, receives the instruments of office from his predecessor Zimbabwean President, Robert Mugabe, third left in red tie, as African Union Commission Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, left, and UN Secretary General , Ban Ki-moon, right, watches, in Addis Ababa.
    African Union chairman Chadian President Idriss Deby, fourth left, receives the instruments of office from his predecessor Zimbabwean President, Robert Mugabe, as AU Commission Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, left, African Union chairman Chadian President Idriss Deby, fourth left, receives the instruments of office from his predecessor Zimbabwean President, Robert Mugabe, third left in red tie, as African Union Commission Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, left, and UN Secretary General , Ban Ki-moon, right, watches, in Addis Ababa.
    Marthe van der Wolf

    The African Union wrapped up its heads of state summit Sunday, without a decisive action on Burundi. 

    The African Union did not gather enough support during its summit to deploy troops to Burundi, without the country's consent.  Despite a decision from the AU Peace and Security Council in December, to send in troops to halt violence.
     
    Peace and Security Commissioner for the African Union, Smail Chergui said the continental body will send a high level delegation to Burundi, to continue consultations and a possible deployment.
     
    He says that if Burundi would accept deployment the force would focus on disarming militia, protecting protect civilians, facilitate the work of human rights observers, and collect illegally circulating weapons.
     
    Burundi's position


    Burundi's foreign minister Alan Nyamitwe said the summit ended with a clear understanding the high level delegation would not focus on deploying troops.
     
    "Since the government has indicated several times that we are not interested in that force, I believe it is clear that, that delegation will not engage on the force, because we have made our announcements very clear several times,” he said.

    U.N. Security General Ban Ki-Moon told reporters “its basically up to the African Union, in consultation with the Burundian government.

    Assistant Secretary of State Linda Thomas-Greenfield says sending in peacekeepers would be in the interest of the Burundian people.
     
    “Our understanding is that this is still under discussion. ... So I do not think its off the table and that is a very good thing.  We think it is in the interest of the Burundian government to have peacekeepers that will provide eye witnesses to what is going on,” she said.

    Chadian President Idriss Deby closed the summit on Sunday with a call for closer cooperation on terrorism, respecting human rights and keeping African youth from migrating to Europe through illegal ways.

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