LONDON, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni says he will highlight to the upcoming summit of Heads of State of the East African Community (EAC) the issue of a joint move on Burundi by the EAC-appointed lead facilitator and mediator in an effort to urge all stakeholders to engage in dialogue.

We need a consensus on Burundi as a region," he said. "When I take up the chair of EAC at the next summit, I will raise this issue so that we can have a decision. We should never neglect any opportunity for dialogue. We need to ease tensions with regional players."

The president made these remarks while meeting France's Director for Africa and Indian Ocean, Remi Marechau, and its envoy to the African Great Lakes Region, Ambassador Sophie Makame, who were accompanied by Uganda's Ambassador to France, Nimisha Madhivani, in London last week. President Museveni was in London to attend Thursday's International Conference on Somalia.

As mediator in the Burundi peace process, the Ugandan leader will assume the EAC chairmanship at the next summit.

Ambassador Makame said the facilitation of the peace process needed to be given more support and Uganda hoped to see a gesture to open up to dialogue by all stakeholders. There has been a growing concern over the political situation in Burundi, the lack of progress and the lack of engagement by the government of Burundi, thus the need to involve the regional leaders.

Presidents of the six EAC countries will gather for the 18th EAC Ordinary Heads of State Summit meeting in Arusha, Tanzania, later this monh.

They are: current Chair, President John Magufuli (Tanzania), President Uhuru Kenyatta (Kenya), Museveni, Paul Kagame (Rwanda), Pierre Nkurunziza (Burundi) and for the first time, Salva Kiir Mayardit (South Sudan).


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