Burundi –Tanzania has become the first member of the East African Community to openly endorse the deployment of African Union peacekeeping troops to strife-torn Burundi.
During a meeting with the head of the African Union last week, Tanzanian Foreign Minister Augustine Mahiga urged cooperation from Burundi’s government, which considers the proposed mission as an invasion, according to Kenyan newspaper the Daily Nation.
“The chairperson of the commission and the Tanzanian minister of foreign affairs — bearing in mind the importance of ending acts of violence and human rights violations — urged the government of Burundi to fully cooperate with the AU towards the early deployment of Maprobu,” the African Union said in a statement Friday, referring to the official acronym for the African Prevention and Protection Mission in Burundi force. “Both leaders expressed deep concern at the political, security and humanitarian situation prevailing in Burundi and at its consequences for regional security and stability.”
Tanzania and Burundi are both members of the East African Community, a regional intergovernmental organization that also includes Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda. Tanzania has long played a leading role in the region. In 1979, its army invaded Uganda and ousted dictator Idi Amin.
Tanzania was set to host peace talks last week between Burundi’s government and opposition groups in Arusha, after they opened in Uganda late last month. But a senior official in Burundi’s Foreign Ministry said the government will not partake in the talks because they included those who are “supporting violence,” VOA News reported.
The African Union announced its plan in December to send a 5,000-strong peacekeeping force imto Burundi to curb intensifying violence and protect civilians, following renewed violence in the small East African nation. The 54-member regional bloc gave the government 96 hours to respond and was met with rejection. In any case, the proposed mission still needs a green light from the United Nations Security Council, according to CNN.
Adapted from http://www.ibtimes.com/