By Our Reporter
The European Union (EU) has today announced that it will continue to fund humanitarian agencies in Burundi while it has suspended direct support to the Bujumbura government.
The EU is Burundi’s biggest aid donor, funding about half the annual budget of the central African country – one of the world’s poorest.
More than 440 people have been killed and nearly 240,000 fled to neighbouring countries since last April when President Pierre Nkurunziza announced his bid to extend his rule, which he won in a disputed July election.
“The situation in Burundi remains of serious concern for the EU, though we have seen recently some glimpses of hope. Today’s decision makes clear that for our relations to be fully resumed we expect a number of concrete measures to be carried out,” EU’s foreign affairs commissioner Federica Mogherini said.
After a visit by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon last month, followed by another by five African presidents, President Nkurunziza agreed to hold an inclusive dialogue, committing himself to engage in the talks.
“The government of Burundi has committed to the deployment of 100 AU human-rights observers and 100 military monitors to Burundi to monitor the situation,” said South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma who led the African Union high level delegation in Bujumbura.
President Zuma said Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni will convene an inclusive dialogue that will be attended by all relevant stakeholders as soon as possible to continue the work that he has already started of facilitating peace talks in Burundi.
The EU did not however spell out what measures Burundi must take for the aid funds to resume.