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Thursday, January 8, 2015

REMARKS BY UN AMBASSADOR POWER ON BURUNDI'S ELECTIONS

FROM:  U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT 

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U.S. Mission to the United Nations: Statement by Ambassador Samantha Power, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, on the UN Integrated Office in Burundi's Closure and Transition to the UN Electoral Observation Mission in Burundi
January 6, 2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Last week, the United Nations Integrated Office in Burundi (BNUB) formally closed and transitioned to the United Nations Electoral Observation Mission in Burundi (MENUB) with a mandate to support Burundi’s electoral process ahead of the 2015 elections.

In April 2014, I visited Burundi and heard first-hand from political party representatives, members of the opposition, young university leaders, and civil society advocates about their hopes for the country’s political future and how they might contribute to it. But it was also clear then, as it is now, that the shrinking political space for opposition voices, including new, restrictive media and assembly laws, poses a threat to that future. As I stressed during my visit, an environment of open and free dialogue is essential to fulfilling Burundi’s democratic aspirations and preserving its hard-won peace.

The United States welcomes UN efforts to get MENUB up and running quickly, in line with the international commitment to the security and well-being of the people of Burundi, and looks forward to the important role MENUB will play in providing support to the government in the development of an inclusive and transparent 2015 elections cycle. The United States urges the Government of Burundi to engage the new UN mission earnestly to ensure all political and civil society leaders play an active role in the electoral process and that the people of Burundi enjoy a fully free and fair electoral process, one that results in a representative government determined to protect democratic institutions and serve the public’s needs.