Burundi: U.S. Regrets Decision To Move Ahead With Elections

Press Statement
John Kirby
Department Spokesperson
Washington, DC
June 29, 2015

The United States is deeply disappointed that the government of Burundi moved forward with parliamentary elections today despite woefully inadequate conditions for them to be credible, disregarding the strong urging of the African Union, the UN Secretary General and many other voices calling for a delay. We call on President Nkurunziza to place the welfare of his country and people ahead of his wish to serve a third term by heeding the calls for dialogue and demonstrating respect for the Arusha Agreement, including its provisions on term limits.

We urge the Burundian government to return to the table and to participate seriously in the political dialogue facilitated by UN Special Representative Bathily, AU Special Envoy Fall, and their East African Community and International Conference on the Great Lakes Region colleagues. We want all stakeholders to reach consensus on new electoral dates and find a political solution for this crisis.

The United States supports the AU’s decision not to send electoral observers in recognition that free, fair and credible elections are impossible given the current security situation and the closure of political and media space. We share the AU’s concern about the hardships facing the people of Burundi and urge President Nkurunziza to cooperate fully with the AU and regional organizations to resolve the current crisis and enable credible elections to go forward at a later date.