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On Burundi, UNSC Meets, French PR on Conditions for Elections, Press

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 27 -- Two weeks after the UN Security Council, the United States and the UN Peacebuilding Configuration on Burundi on May 15 issued statements urging calm in the country given the return of Pierre Nkurunziza to presumably run for a third term, on May 27 the UN Security Council got a closed-door briefing from envoy Said Djinnit.

  On the way in, a Permanent member's deputy ambassador told Inner City Press there would probably be no outcome from the meeting. And so it was -- after an hour and a half, when the Ambassador of the Council's "penholder" on Burundi Francois Delattre emerged, he declined to speak on the UNTV camera.

  He did however to his credit answer questions on the stairs leaving the stakeout. Inner City Press asked him about the timing of the presidential election; he said the conditions are not met.

  But why not put that in a Security Council statement? To make it a Council position?

  Inner City Press asked Delattre about attacks on journalists, the Security Council's topic before and after the Burundi consultation. He genially said it might be a good idea for the Council to speak on that. We'll see -- cell phone video here, in the spirit of Freedom of the Press, by the Free UN Coalition for Access, along with this rough transcript:

Inner City Press: What about the timing of the presidential election?
A: Thereís a wide unity around the table, conditions are not met. A wide unity, everybody says that conditions for election are not met. Thatís what we should work on. Raising these conditions.
Inner City Press: what about attacks on journalists?

A: Thatís a really good point, because you have these consultations on Burundi, and you have this debate on protection of journalists. Thatís something that I stressed to my colleagues. Protection of journalists is everywhere and also in Burundi.

Inner City Press: Will there be a statement on it?

A: You had a statement already on Sunday, you cannot have a statement every day. These are real concerns.


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