The Elders have written to the Chairperson of the African Union, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, in support of her efforts to bring peace and justice to Burundi, and urged her to press for a credible international security presence in the country.
In a letter sent as the African Union holds its annual summit in Addis Ababa, Kofi Annan, Chair of The Elders, said:
“It is essential that continued robust diplomacy on the part of the African Union and the United Nations be matched with confidence-building measures on the ground […] Only a credible international security presence in the form of peacekeepers or, if this is not feasible, police forces working with independent human rights monitors reporting to the African Union will be able to provide the reassurance required today by many Burundians.”
The Elders believe that serious and credible dialogue between the government of President Nkurunziza and the opposition is crucial to avoid a further deterioration in Burundi’s security situation and the stability of the wider region.
The Elders feel a special connection with Burundi because of the role of the organisation’s founder, Nelson Mandela, in negotiating the 1998 Arusha Peace and Reconciliation Agreement which ended the last civil war in the country. His legacy is at risk from the current conflict, which threatens further bloodshed within Burundi as well as regional peace and security.