The UN special envoy Said Djinnit has quit his role mediating crisis talks between the government and opposition parties in Burundi. The move follows accusations that he was biased toward the government's interests.
UN special envoy to the Great Lakes region of Burundi Said Djinnit has quit his role as mediator between the Burundian government, the ruling party, opposition parties, and civil society organizations.
The move follows accusations that the envoy was biased toward the government's interests in the talks.
In a statement released on Wednesday night, Djinnit said he had taken into account the accusations, adding that he was "committed" to ensuring peace in the country.
"He duly takes note of the positions expressed a few days ago, on his role as facilitator by some Burundian parties," a statement from the UN department of political affairs stated.
"The Special Envoy encourages the Burundian parties to continue their dialogue with a view to create conditions conducive to holding free, fair, inclusive and peaceful elections," the statement said.
'He will return'
Meanwhile, Vladimir Monteiro, spokesman for the UN mission in Burundi, who announced the envoy's resignation as mediator, said Djinnit will retain his broader role as envoy.
Human rights organizations report at least 20 people have been killed by police since protests started
"Said Djinnit gave up his role as mediator in the Burundian crisis, but he will return to Bujumbura as the Special Envoy for the Great Lakes region," said Monteiro.
Djinnit was appointed special envoy in 2014, although he was granted the task of mediating the Burundian crisis in May following President Pierre Nkurunziza's announcement to seek a third term.
Nkurunziza's bid for a third term sparked widespread violence and a government crackdown on independent media.
The presidential elections, originally slated for June, have now been pushed back to July 15.
ls/mz (Reuters, AP, AFP)