Regional leaders are urging Burundi's government to delay presidential elections by two weeks as the central African country grapples with violence sparked by the president's bid for a third term.
Presidential elections are scheduled for July 15, and the government of President Pierre Nkurunziza has previously indicated it is opposed to postponing the polls.
Regional leaders under the East African Community bloc, of which Burundi is a member, met in Tanzania on Monday to discuss the situation in Burundi as the government presses ahead with the controversial polls.
The summit called for a government of national unity no matter who wins the polls, and also urged Nkurunziza's government to disarm all armed groups that are accused of fuelling violence in the country.
More than 12,000 Burundians who have fled to neighboring Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo since the end of March as political tensions have flared. Bujumbura, the capital, has been torn by violence since the ruling party announced on April 26 that Nkurunziza would be its candidate in the upcoming presidential elections.
Nkurunziza's supporters say he is eligible for a third term because he was chosen by lawmakers, and not popularly elected, for his first term, and the constitutional court has ruled in the president's favor. Protesters insist Nkurunziza must go after serving two terms.
The street protests boiled over in mid-May, leading to an attempted military coup that was put down quickly.
On Sunday, Burundi rejected a second U.N. diplomat, Abdoulaye Bathily, who was named last month to help resolve the political crises.
Bathily’s rejection came in response to a critical U.N. report saying its mission in Burundi had observed restrictions on media freedoms, arbitrary detentions and acts of violence around the June 29 vote.
Burundi's ruling coalition blamed Bathily for the report.
"He has produced a critical report not reflecting reality on the scene, saying that elections of June 29 were not 'free and credible', while (the ruling coalition) believe that these elections were 'transparent, fair, free and credible and were held in peace and security,'" it said in a letter to the U.N. secretary general.
The coalition accused Bathily of exhibiting a "lack of neutrality."
Bathily's appointment was announced on June 21. The previous U.N. mediator, Said Djinnit, left the role after only a few weeks after criticism from the opposition that he was biased in the government's favor, a charge he dismissed.
Al Jazeera with wire services