EU says Burundi decision to hold vote will worsen crisis

Pierre Nkurunziza

Pierre Nkurunziza

The European Union on Monday condemned Burundi’s “grave” decision to hold elections despite ongoing violence sparked by the president’s bid for a third term, saying it would worsen the situation.

“The organisation of legislative elections… can only exacerbate the profound crisis which is gripping Burundi,” a spokeswoman for the EU diplomatic service said in a statement.

Brussels said Burundi’s decision to “ignore the last suggestion” by the UN, African Union and other organisations “constitutes a grave development.”

“The situation poses growing risks for the rights and security of all Burundians. There is no alternative — all Burundians must continue to seek a consensual solution through dialogue and the rejection of violence,” it added.

“The EU calls on the government of Burundi to follow this course.”

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has called for the elections to be delayed after the opposition said they would not take part, as Burundi faces its worst crisis since its civil war ended nine years ago.

Burundi was plunged into turmoil in late April when President Pierre Nkurunziza launched his drive for a third consecutive five-year term, triggering widespread protests.

The EU said in May it was suspending its electoral observer mission in Burundi.

EU foreign ministers last week threatened to sanction individuals involved in the violence.

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