The past week may turn out to be decisive for the future of Burundi, as global efforts to stop the country’s slide towards open conflict pick up pace.
As Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs told the Security Council on 9 November, a year after the closing of the United Nations Office in Burundi (BNUB), the country “finds itself in a deep political crisis and rapid escalation of violence that has serious implications for stability and ethnic harmony in Burundi as well as peace and security in the region.”
Mr. Feltman recalled that the sharp deterioration of the political and security situation is happening at a time when the mandate of the UN electoral mission in the country, MENUB, is ending.
“There is clearly a need for continuing political engagement and presence on the ground to support Burundi during these difficult times’” he said, adding that this required a mandate from the Council and the cooperation of the Government of Burundi.
One of those two conditions was fulfilled on 12 November when the Council unanimously called on all parties in Burundi to engage in peace talks, warning of further action against those who incite more violence. The Council invited the Secretary-General to deploy a team in Burundi to coordinate and work with the Government of Burundi, African Union and other partners to assess the situation and develop options to address political and security concerns. The Secretary-General will update the Council within 15 days, including by presenting options on the future presence of the United Nations in Burundi.
How did Burundi reach the “critical juncture” it finds itself in, as Mr. Feltman put it to the Council? In the timeline below, you will see a summary of developments in the country since the closing of BNUB to the adoption of Council resolution 2248 (2015).