Burundi receives support from EAC heads of state

Reading Time: 2 minutes

The East African Community (EAC) heads of state who participated in the 18th EAC summit this weekend have announced their full support for Burundi, which has been affected by European Union (EU) sanctions for nearly two years.

At the end of the summit on Saturday, the new leader of the EAC and mediator in the Burundi crisis Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni told participants that the constituents of the EAC were not in a position to sign the EU-EAC economic partnership agreement (EPA).

He said the agreement content needed more clarifications on some issues identified in it. Moreover, Burundi could not be left out because the EAC was “family”. “The summit agreed that the EU sanctions on Burundi should be discussed alongside the EPA discussions,” Museveni said.

EPAs are trade and development agreements negotiated between the EU and African, Caribbean, and Pacific (ACP) countries engaged in regional economic integration processes.

Burundi, benefitting from the full support of the EAC heads of state, has now threatened not to sign the agreement. “Burundi is not in [a] position to sign [the] EPA until the EU sanctions will be removed,” Burundi Vice President Gaston Sindimwo told reporters.

On the EU side, the sanctions will be maintained for as long as the security and human rights situation in Burundi does not improve.

After a closed doors meeting, Museveni announced that the summit had also received a progress report on the inter-Burundian dialogue from facilitator William Benjamin Mkapa. Without giving details of the report he said the summit had “fully endorsed the assessment and adopted the report”.

– By ANA