EU Invites Burundi to Brussels, Talks Over Crisis in the Country

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The EU has called on Burundi to attend talks in Brussels over the political crisis and human rights violations in the country, according to diplomatic sources.

Burundi was plunged into violence in April after President Nkurunziza announced he would run for a third term in charge. The situation in Burundi has only escalated since the President was reelected in July, with claims from opposition groups that elections were rigged.

 

Measures needed

Burundi now stands on the brink of another civil war, according to many experts. The EU, which supplies the African nation with roughly half of its annual budget, has already imposed sanctions on numerous key figures on either side of the conflict. Meanwhile, small amounts of aid to the government have also been halted and the EU has said it would be willing to explore this option further, if a solution cannot be found.

That would be a last resort however, with the EU opting for dialogue before any further sanctions or financial impositions.

 

Dialogue first

“We have the honour, in the name of the European Union and its member states, to invite your country to take part in consultations to study the situation in depth and, if necessary, take remedial measures,” says a draft letter for the Burundi President, seen by AFP.

“The consultations will provide an opportunity for Burundi to present the government’s program, particularly as regards democratic principles, human rights and governance.”

Burundi will have 30 days after receiving the letter to respond and confirm its presence at the talks held in Brussels. Failure to do so will be seen as a refusal of the EU’s latest diplomatic efforts to help stabilise the situation in Burundi, leaving the European Union to consider alternative options.

 

Featured image:

European Parliament Strasbourg Hemicycle – Diliff” by DiliffOwn work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons.