Michel Kafando, UN Special Envoy to Burundi, and Huang Xia, UN Special Envoy for Africa’s Great Lakes meet to discuss the situation in Burundi and the region
Nairobi, 26 August 2019 - Michel Kafando, UN Special Envoy to Burundi who visited Nairobi on 26 August, met with Huang Xia, his counterpart for the Great Lakes to discuss the political and security situation in the region and, especially in Burundi.
Special Envoy Kafando explained that his mandate is to provide "strong support" to the East African community leaders in their search for a solution to the Burundian crisis. It is in this sense that he informed Mr. Xia about his recent meeting with President Yoweri Museveni of the Republic of Uganda, during which he noted the willingness of the region’s leaders to tackle the Burundi file, especially concerning the elections which will take place in a year’s time. President Museveni was chosen by his peers to take the lead in helping find a solution to the Burundian crisis. Following his audience with the Ugandan president, Special Envoy Kafando said he had the feeling that "the problem of the lack of commitment of the leaders of the region in the Burundian crisis is now solved". However, he said he deplores the persistent distrust of Burundian leaders vis-à-vis the international community. "There is a decline in the level of confidence of the Burundian authorities vis-à-vis the United Nations," he said.
To restore confidence between Burundian authorities and the international community, Special Envoy Kafando proposes that the nature of assistance provided to the countries of the Great Lakes within the “framework of Peace and Development" be reconsidered. For example, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where elections have been held recently and a new government formed, the development component must be considered in the context of assistance to this country. For Special Envoy Kafando, the United Nations has a role to play in this regard, notably by calling on the leaders of the region to include the economic component in the Burundian situation. Beyond Burundi, Mr. Kafando is also of the opinion that more efforts must be made to move towards economic integration in the Great Lakes region.
The meeting between the two Special Envoys ended with the commitment to continue their collaboration within their respective but complementary mandates to support peace, security and development efforts in the region.