Political News

Burundi says office of UN special envoy no longer welcome

Posted November 20, 2020 5:46 a.m. EST

— Burundi is no longer welcoming the United Nations special envoy to the East African nation, asserting that peace has been achieved after a deadly political crisis.

In a letter sent to the to the U.N. secretary-general and seen by The Associated Press, Burundi’s foreign minister said the office has no more reason to be there. It will close by the end of the year.

“After a successful electoral process, which led to a historic political transition, peaceful and exemplary in Africa, the government of Burundi finds that a U.N. presence with a political character is no longer relevant,” Albert Shingiro wrote. He asserted that the office “kept Burundi in a psychosis of artificial crisis cleverly maintained by foreign actors.”

Burundi has achieved peace, security and stability, he asserted.

A source at the office of the special envoy to Burundi confirmed the letter.

The office opened in 2016 in the wake of deadly political unrest around former President Pierre Nkurunziza’s ultimately successful decision to pursue another term. The office had a mandate to help Burundi’s government engage in dialogue with its opponents and critics.

Nkurunziza died earlier this year shortly after an election he didn't contest, and current President Evariste Ndayishimiye has spoken of moving on from the past. But human rights groups and other watchdogs have warned they see little change from the repressive ways of the previous administration.

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