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Diplomats Call for Restraint, Dialogue in Burundi

FILE - Police drive by the scene of a grenade attack on a parked car downtown Bujumbura, Burundi, on the eve of a presidential election, July 20, 2015.

A group of international envoys has called on the government of Burundi to show restraint and resume political dialogue in an effort to end political, humanitarian and economic crises stemming from the president's decision to seek a third term in office.

The diplomats from the United Nations, African Union, European Union, Belgium and the United States called for an end to violence, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the resumption of an inclusive political dialogue.

"Following months of unrest and the controversial electoral process, the Burundian government can begin to restore credibility through engagement in an inclusive political dialogue with political parties," the envoys said in a statement. "The Burundian government cannot afford to continue down a road marred by instability, division, extreme economic decline and humanitarian crisis."

President Pierre Nkurunziza's decision to run for a third term in office triggered a failed coup in June and sparked criticism from those who say he is undermining the constitution and the Arusha accord, which effectively ended the country's 13-year civil war.

Burundi's constitutional court ruled he was eligible because he was first elected by parliament, not voters, in 2005.

The July 21 vote in which Nkurunziza was re-elected was widely viewed as flawed.

More than 200,000 people have fled from Burundi and are seeking refuge across the region.

The statement commended Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Kenya for their "humanitarian contributions" as hosts for refugees.