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Africa

Inclusive dialogue to resolve Burundi crisis essential to EU aid

media Burundi's President Nkurunziza embraces his South African counterpart Zuma, … Reuters/Evrard Ngendakumana

European Union aid to Burundi’s government will be dependent upon inclusive dialogue between all actors in the country’s crisis, RFI has learnt. The African Union had said in a statement on Monday that restoration of aid should be considered in the event of an improvement in the security and humanitarian situation.

The EU will take into account whether commitments to inclusive dialogue are actually realised when deciding upon aid to Burundi’s government.

Europe’s regional bloc has not yet suspended development cooperation, but anticipates only providing support that directly benefits the population.

Yet the international community should “envisage” restoring international aid to Burundi, the African Union had said on Monday.

A renewal of aid should be dependent on an improvement in the security and the humanitarian situation, encouraging Burundian actors to “remain engaged in the inclusive dialogue”, according to a statement from the African regional bloc following a visit by five African heads of state to Bujumbura.

The EU’s development aid to Burundi, worth 432 million euros between 2014-2020, currently includes direct budgetary support for the government.

However, the crisis in Burundi sparked by President Pierre Nkurunziza’s controversial third term in office has called this into question.

The EU will propose measures about ongoing development cooperation with Burundi’s government, RFI understands, but it is likely to be restricted to essential support related to food security and health. A decision is expected in the coming weeks.

Inclusive dialogue between all actors in the Burundi crisis has been a point of contention.

“We still have a few issues with a number of actors, who’ve involved themselves in activities that are completely in contradiction of resolution 2248,” said Alain Nyamitwe, Burundi’s foreign minister, during the high-level AU delegation visit to Bujumbura last week.

“Peaceful is a key word here, people who’ve tried to overthrow the government, people who’ve formed rebel groups to overthrow the government, I don’t think they have a platform here,” said Nyamitwe, referring to a UN Security Council resolution that called for the government and all parties to reject violence.

Previous talks have failed, with Nkurunziza refusing to sit down with some of the opposition.

"He will never agree to the meaningful negotiations that are the only way out of this crisis," Leonard Nyangoma, chairman of Cnared opposition umbrella group, told the AFP news agency on 25 February.

Some 400 people have been killed in Burundi since violence erupted in April and more than 247,000 people have fled to neighbouring countries.

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