Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza faces possible sanctions should he reject the notion of accepting peacekeeping troops into his troubled country.
Media sources quoted a senior African Union (AU) official as saying some African countries were pushing Nkurunziza to accept the troops but hastened to add ‘he is not expected to endorse the plan’.
This week the AU Heads of State are holding their Summit in Addis Ababa, and the UN has urged them to prioritise the issue of peacekeeping troops, agreed upon in December last year by the continental body, which planned to send 5000 troops to prevent Burundi from sliding back into ethnic conflict.
Burundi rejected the plan and instead engaged in shuttle diplomacy, the most recent being a meeting between outgoing AU Chairman Robert Mugabe and Burundi Special Envoy Maj Gen Everiste Ndayishimiye in Zimbabwe two days ago.
Last week, a 15-member UN Security Council delegation was in Burundi and left dejected after fruitless talks with President Nkurunziza, the US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Powers, who is also Council president, said and urged the AU to intervene to ensure that Burundi complied with its resolution on the deployment of troops.
Burundi slid into violence in April last year, following president Nkurunziza’s announcement that he would run for a third term, prompting the opposition to protest the move, saying it was in contravention of the Constitution that sets the mandate at a maximum of two five-year terms.