U.S. brokers in Burundi

News and Press Release
Originally published
BUJUMBURA, Burundi U.S. diplomats are brokering a deal that would allow a military leader installed in last months coup to be officially recognized as president, sources close to the talks said Sunday.
The deal would require military leader Pierre Buyoya to restore the national assembly with its original membership, according to the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Buyoya would have six months to negotiate peace between warring Hutus and Tutsis before being required to restore the constitution and political parties, according to a source close to Buyoya, who also spoke on condition of anonymity.

Buyoya suspended the constitution and banned political parties as part of the coup on July 25.

Meanwhile, Burundis legitimate president, Sylvestre Ntibantunganya, remains at the U.S. ambassadors residence, where he took refuge several days before the coup. It was not clear what would happen to him if Buyoya was officially recognized as president.

Although no one has commented officially on the plan to recognize Buyoya, it is viewed in diplomatic and political circles in Bujumbura as perhaps the only peaceful solution to Burundis problems.

Officials in Washington will only say that talks are under way to persuade Buyoya to speed up his plan to return democracy to this tiny central African country within three years.

The United States is actively engaged in helping find a solution to the situation in Burundi along with other regional actors, and its simply not going to get into details of the work that is under way at this stage, U.S. State Department spokesman Glyn Davies said Sunday.

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