Harare - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe is reported to have met with a special envoy of Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza in Harare on Tuesday, ahead of the upcoming African Union (AU) summit in Ethiopia.
Nkurunziza's chief-of-staff, Major-General Everiste Ndayishimiye, briefed Mugabe on political developments in Burundi and decisions on the way forward, the state-owned Herald Herald newspaper said.
The meeting followed on the proposal of a peace mission that had been rejected by Nkurunziza late last year.
The mission had sought to send African Union troops into the country following the death of 400 people and displacement of more than 200 000 citizens.
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Hostilities in Burundi began after Nkurunziza announced that he would seek a third term in office, violating the two-term limit stipulated in the country's constitution.
Responding to questions on why the AU's proposal was rejected, Ndayishimiye said the deployment of foreign troops in a country with over 5 000 security forces currently on peacekeeping missions did not make sense.
Ndayishimiye attributed deaths to criminals, saying that crime was common, even in developed countries.
It has been revealed that a major goal of the upcoming summit, which will see Mugabe relinquish his title as AU chairperson, will be to persuade the Burundi government to accept the AU's peacekeeping proposal.
The 26th summit of the African Union will be held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on January 30 and 31.