EU to Cut Burundi Peacekeeping Funds
The EU plans to cut funding for Burundi’s peacekeeping contingent currently operating in Somalia.
The latest effort by the EU to influence Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza comes after it announced it would cut direct funding to the government. However, Burundi still receives around $65 million each year for its part in the AMISOM project in Somalia.
EU plans peacekeeper cuts
Burundi has so far coped with funding cuts implemented by western sources, however, the EU feels its peacekeeper funds could prove to be a weakness for the country. President Nkurunziza needs to keep his fractious army happy and European officials suspect the lack of extra money dished out by peacekeeping funds – $52 million of which goes to soldiers – could jeopardise the president’s authority.
“Support for Burundi’s contingent of AMISOM cannot continue as it is,” one European diplomat told Reuters.
Cutting Burundi’s peacekeeping completely may not be an option, though, as this would leave the African Union with a $52 million annual bill. However, the 20 percent of funds kept by the state, worth around $13 million a year, is more likely to be cut by the EU.
Burundi remains resilient
Burundi has so far resisted all efforts by western powers to influence its government through aid cuts. The country’s national security crisis is widely considered the worst in Africa, prompting fears of an ethnic clash that could replicate the horrors of Rwanda’s 1994 genocide.
The US and EU have both used aid cuts in an attempt to force the country’s president to negotiate with opposition leaders and resolve the conflict. President Nkurunziza vowed to start talks during a visit from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon last month, however, nothing has yet materialised.
The troubled nation’s economy is sliding further into collapse, as a result of the conflict, but the government remains resilient.
“EU aid cut doesn’t mean the government will stop functioning,” Foreign Minister Alain Nyamitwe told Reuters earlier this month.
By US Army Africa from Vicenza, Italy – Burundi peacekeepers prepare for next rotation to Somalia, Bjumbura, Burundi 012210Uploaded by AlbertHerring, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=28900841