World

UN chief signals support for AU-proposed peacekeepers for Burundi; country's leader says no

The United Nations secretary-general is signaling his support for a proposed African Union peacekeeping force for Burundi, even though that country's president has called the idea unacceptable.

The statement by Ban Ki-moon's spokesman on Thursday also welcomes this week's launch of discussions between Burundi's government and opposition in Uganda.

Burundi has seen months of deadly violence since President Pierre Nkurunziza decided to seek a third term, which many observers said violated the country's constitution.

The African Union has proposed deploying 5,000 peacekeepers to quell the country's escalating unrest. But Nkurunziza on Wednesday said he would consider the arrival of foreign troops "an invasion."

Ban's new statement commends the AU's "determination" to support Burundi's government and people, including with its peacekeeping proposal.