News / Africa

    UN Chief: Burundi President, Opponents Agree to Hold Talks

    U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, right, listens as Burundi's President Pierre Nkurunziza speaks during a joint press conference in Bujumbura, Burundi, Feb. 23, 2016.
    U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, right, listens as Burundi's President Pierre Nkurunziza speaks during a joint press conference in Bujumbura, Burundi, Feb. 23, 2016.
    VOA News

    United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza has agreed to begin talks with the opposition to bring an end to a nearly year-long political crisis.

    Ban announced the breakthrough Tuesday after meetings with Nkurunziza, opposition leaders and civil society groups in the capital Bujumbura.  The U.N. chief said that all sides had promised to engage in "inclusive dialogue."

    "Burundi's political leaders must be ready to summon the courage and the confidence that will make a credible political process possible," Ban said during a joint news conference with Nkurunziza.

    The Burundian president said in his statement that he is ready to meet with his opponents and said he is releasing political prisoners as a demonstration of good will.

    "Everyone knows that Burundians always come together when it comes to talks," Nkurunziza said.  "We have shown our commitment with the announcement to free 2,000 prisoners, excluding those accused of disturbing the peace."

    FILE - A soldier patrols a street after a grenade attack in Burundi's capital Bujumbura, Feb. 3, 2016.
    FILE - A soldier patrols a street after a grenade attack in Burundi's capital Bujumbura, Feb. 3, 2016.


    The Burundian leader also called on the United Nations to help persuade Rwanda to end its support of Burundian rebels. Rwanda has denied allegations that it is training and arming rebels opposed to Nkurunziza.

    Ban's visit comes a month after a U.N. Security Council delegation traveled to Burundi to press for negotiations among Nkurunziza and his opponents.

    Burundi has been mired in a sometimes violent political crisis since April of last year, when Nkurunziza sought and won what is widely seen as an unconstitutional third term.

    Observers fear the violence – which has killed more than 400 people and caused 230,000 more to flee the country – could tip into another civil war or worse in the ethnically mixed Hutu-Tutsi nation.

    After leaving Burundi Tuesday, Ban headed to the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo for the second part of an Africa tour that will also take him to South Sudan.

    You May Like

    Vietnam Mulls Tough Measures for ‘Misbehaving’ Chinese Tourists

    Move comes after footage surfaced online of Chinese travelers harassing a banana hawker in Da Nang

    The Complicated Math of AIDS

    A lot, and then some: the huge - and complicated - cost of the AIDS epidemic

    Pakistan Social Media Star's Honor Killing Fuels Debate

    Qandeel Baloch's murder puts spotlight on deadly tradition and other mistreatment of women

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Madina J from: Kampala Uganda
    February 25, 2016 2:55 AM
    Mr. President of Burundi, go a head,,, talk peace. All the best wishes and may God shield you and Burundi. God may you bless Burundi with peace. Blessed are the peace Makers, for they shall be called the children of God.

    by: Moses608 from: Kenya
    February 24, 2016 5:52 AM
    Which opposition?some are dead,others in jail and many others in exile.the president should be specific.
    In Response

    by: Madina from: Kampala
    February 25, 2016 3:33 AM
    Then what do you call them that want to un seat Him ? It's time to speak peace NOT to incite violence. May God bless Burundi, for the on going peace talks.

    by: Madina J from: Kampala Uganda
    February 24, 2016 4:18 AM
    I feel Happy about the Burundi's President,,, on coming talks with the opposition. May GOD shield Burundi and Africa.

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Borderi
    X
    July 22, 2016 12:30 AM
    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.
    Video

    Video Number of Syrian Refugees Arriving in US Jumps

    The United States is committed to resettling 85,000 refugees from around the world by October. Of that number, 10,000 will come from Syria and already some 4,000 Syrian refugees have arrived in the United States, many of them settling in the state of Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from Chicago, their arrival is not the end of a difficult journey to find peace and stability.
    Video

    Video Rio’s Trams Await Olympic Tourists

    Over the past century, many cities around the world replaced electric trams, prone to breakdowns and backups, with faster and more spacious buses. But for some reason restored antique trams are a huge tourist attraction. So it’s no wonder the authorities in Rio de Janeiro are busy restoring their city’s old tram line ahead of the Summer Olympic Games. VOA’ George Putic reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora