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Burundi, European Union agree to work together towards restoring relations

By Mwangi Maina | February 4th 2021

Burundi's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Amb. Albert Shingiro.

After a nearly five-year suspension of direct collaboration between the Burundian government and the European Union, a high-level political dialogue was launched Tuesday with a view to restoring relations with the EU and its member states. 

The two delegations met in Bujumbura on Tuesday and were led by Ambassador Albert Shingiro, Burundian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Claude Bochu, European Union envoy in Burundi.

The resumption of exchanges between the two delegations also saw the participation of Ambassadors of the European Union member states in Burundi.

According to a joint statement released by the delegations, the resumption of political dialogue constitutes a shared priority that will benefit the people of Burundi and Europe.

The delegations agreed to work together towards restoring relations.

‘’I am delighted with the spirit of openness and mutual trust which characterised the resumption of political dialogue. The exchanges took place in a constructive environment with the ultimate goal being to get concrete results as soon as possible,’’ tweeted Ambassador Shingiro.

EU Ambassador to Burundi Claude Bochu.

Both parties recalled that Burundi and the member states drawn from the European Union are historical partners anxious to strengthen their bonds of friendship and cooperation.

This comes days after President Evariste Ndayishimiye, held a ceremony with members of the diplomatic community accredited to Bujumbura where he reaffirmed the will of his government to strengthen the bonds of cooperation with friendly countries and partners.

In 2016, the EU suspended all direct funding to the Burundian government for failing to meet EU concerns over its human rights record, including the loss of over 400 lives.

Unrest erupted in Burundi, a landlocked African country, in 2015 against a decision by late President Pierre Nkurunziza to run for a third term, which the opposition said was illegal.

With an aid package worth some €430 million ($520 million) for the period 2015-2020, the EU is Burundi’s biggest donor.

The Ndayishimiye-led administration has been hailed for opening up the East African country to regional investors and the international community.

Christian Nibasumba, Burundi representative of Trade Mark East Africa said he was encouraged to see the high-level political dialogue between Bujumbura and the European Union with a view to resuming good ties.

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