US urges African leaders to sway Burundi on peacekeepers

By REUTERS
January 23, 2016 21:17

 
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The United States on Saturday urged African leaders to "work behind the scenes" before their annual summit next weekend to convince Burundi to accept a deployment of international troops in the tiny African state amid festering political violence.

US Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, said members of the African Union Peace and Security Council expected leaders to endorse its proposed deployment of 5,000 troops to protect civilians, despite a rejection of the force by Burundi.

"I didn't get a sense from the African countries gathered in the room that they're going to take that as a final answer," Power told reporters after a meeting between the U.N. Security Council and the AU Peace and Security Council in Addis Ababa.

"As well as the AU meeting (next weekend) to endorse it, we will need leaders to work behind the scenes to get the Burundi government to change its position," she said.

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