EU Cuts Aid to Burundi, Funds Humanitarian Agencies Directly

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The European Union (EU) has announced it will suspend all financial support going to the Burundi government.

The announcement on Monday confirmed all financial aid sent to the Burundi government will be cut, but the EU will continue to fund humanitarian agencies directly in the conflict-ridden country.

 

Burundi loses its biggest donor

The EU is Burundi’s largest aid donor, calculated to fund around half of the country’s entire annual budget. The East African nation remains one of the poorest in the world and ongoing violence in the country is putting additional strain on its economy.

The EU’s decision comes as part of growing international pressure for the government to resolve the nation’s national security crisis. Last month the EU warned Burundi that “appropriate measures” would be taken if human rights violations in the country were not quickly dealt with.

The warning fell short of threatening aid cuts, however, and the loss of its biggest donor will be a huge blow to the Burundi government.

 

Burundi ‘not surprised’

Burundi’s minister of external affairs, Alain-Aime Nyamitwe, says the move comes as no surprise to those inside the country’s government, but insists progress is being made.

“The government of Burundi is not surprised by this decision,” he told AFP. “We had been expecting it in spite of the measures we have taken on human rights and security issues.”

“Burundi has managed so far and I hope it will continue to do so,” he added.

Following a visit from UN Secretary-General Bani Ki-moon last month, Burundian president Pierre Nkurunziza agreed to hold talks with opposition members. The government has since agreed to accept 100 AU human rights observers and another 100 military monitors to assess the situation in Burundi.

So far, more than 400 people have been killed and almost 240,000 displaced since Nkurunziza announced he would run for a third term as president last April. The EU hasn’t given any indication of what kind of action Burundi needs to take before funds will be restored.

 

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