Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Switzerland sought Blatter aid to ease Burundi crisis

21 April 2016, 22:02

Zurich -Sepp Blatter said Thursday that he offered Burundi's President Pierre Nkurunziza a role with FIFA to persuade him to leave office amid a brewing political crisis, following a request from the Swiss government.

The Swiss foreign ministry confirmed in an email to AFP that it sought Blatter's help in diffusing tensions in Burundi.

Blatter, FIFA's disgraced ex-president, made the comments at the Zurich launch of a new authorised biography called "Mission Football."

Speaking to journalists at the launch, Blatter said "Switzerland, which wanted to protect Burundi's interests, asked me to speak to President Pierre Nkurunziza, who is also a huge football fan, to persuade him not to run", for reelection.

The request was made in May of last year, as Nkurunziza was pursuing a controversial third term, which he went on to win in a vote that sparked a continuing crisis which has left hundreds dead.

"We suggested that he become an ambassador for football within Africa and outside. President Nkurunziza said 'I am very touched,'" but ultimately declined the offer.

Also read: Blatter plans to attend 2018 W/Cup as Putin’s guest - Report

In the book, Blatter was quoted as saying that he was asked to intervene in Burundi by the State Secretary at Switzerland's foreign ministry, Yves Rossier.

Swiss foreign ministry spokesman Stefan von Below confirmed "there was a contact between State Secretary Yves Rossier and Mr. Joseph Blatter.

"The intention was to contribute to a peaceful solution in order to prevent the current crisis in Burundi. Switzerland's commitment to peace and stability in Burundi has been longstanding," von Below further said.

The Swiss foreign ministry "never asked president Nkurunziza not to run for the office of president again," he added.

Reacting to an article in Swiss media about Blatter's diplomatic efforts, Burundi's presidential spokesman Willy Nyamittwe said in a tweet: "they tried everything they could to trample the fundamental principles of democracy in #Burundi. We defeated them."

Blatter claimed in the book that the idea for him to be used as an envoy was initiated by the United States, but that could not be immediately confirmed.

If true, the request for Blatter's help would have come just before the US justice department unsealed a raft of indictments targeting top FIFA officials and sports marketing executives over corruption in world football going back decades.

The US indictments, announced on May 27, kicked off the unprecedented crisis at FIFA that ultimately led to Blatter's downfall and his replacement as FIFA's president in February by Gianni Infantino.

During Burundi's year-long political crisis more than 400 people have been killed while some 250,000 others have fled the country, raising fears of a return to the 1993-2006 civil war that claimed an estimated 300,000 lives.

For the latest on national news, politics, sport, entertainment and more follow us on Twitter and like our Facebook page.



Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...