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Burundi: Relief as EU lifts aid and financial sanctions

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The lifting of financial sanctions by the European Union has been welcomed with relief in Burundi.

Since 2016, the EU had suspended its aid after a political crisis triggered by former president Pierre Nkurunziza's bid for a third term.

For Jean Dieu Mutabazi, president of the National Observatory for the Prevention and Eradication of Genocide, War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity, the sanctions lift is a great development.

"We welcomed this news with great satisfaction because we have seen that the process of resuming cooperation between the EU and Burundi is progressing very well. We hope that this process will lead to an effective resumption of cooperation. Since the 2020 elections, we can see that Burundi has entered a new era of openness, warming relations and resuming cooperation" Mutabazu said.

During an audience with the President of the Republic Évariste Ndayishimiye, the head of the EU delegation in Burundi announced that a process to lift the sanctions imposed on Burundi in 2016 is already underway.

However, a group of NGOs had warned against a possible lifting of sanctions, arguing the human rights situation in the country is poor.

''Those who say this, like HRW, are confusing the criminality that can be observed in Burundi, Paris, New York, Lagos, or South Africa or Kenya with identity-based violence. There is no risk of violation in this sense", Mutabazu explained.

The return of European aid would initially allow the rehabilitation of the port of Bujumbura, in partnership with the African Development Bank.

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