Politics

Burundi absent at Kigali conference for security reasons, says President Nkurunziza

Kigali hosted yesterday an extraordinary summit of the African Continental Free Trade Area [AfCFTA]. Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza says Burundi was not represented for security reasons. He accuses Rwanda of hosting the plotters of the May 2015 coup.

President Pierre Nkurunziza: “Rwanda is harboring plotters of the May 2015 coup and terrorists who plunged Burundians into mourning during the 2015 insurrection”

President Pierre Nkurunziza: “Rwanda is harboring plotters of the May 2015 coup and terrorists who plunged Burundians into mourning during the 2015 insurrection”

Burundi and other member countries of the African Union have received invitations to participate in AfCFTA summit 2018 that took place in the Rwandan capital on 21 March.

In his letter dating from 14 March in response to the invitation of Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission, President Pierre Nkurunziza informed him that Burundi would not be represented for security reasons.

“We would have liked to be present at this conference but the venue constitutes an obstacle to Burundi participation,” says Nkurunziza

He accuses Rwanda of harboring “some of the plotters of the May 2015 coup and the terrorists who plunged Burundians into mourning during the 2015 insurrection “. He also accuses Rwandan government of violating international conventions “by recruiting, giving military training to and arming Burundian refugees,” says Nkurunziza

He denounces the violation of the Pact related to Security, Stability and Development in the Great Lakes Region. According to him, the protocol on the non-aggression and mutual defense in Great Lakes Region prohibits any member state from hosting on its territory armed people or insurgent groups participating in armed conflicts and acts of violence or subversive activities against the government of another state.

President Nkurunziza recalls that Burundi has lodged a complaint against Rwanda to the United Nations, the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region and the East African Community.

He considers that the time is propitious for Burundi and Rwanda to resolve the dispute between them since President Paul Kagame is the current chair of the African Union.

Olivier Nduhungirehe, Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and East African Community finds that the president’s allegations are not founded arguing that Burundians MPs of the East African Legislative Assembly went to Rwanda in February and that their security was not endangered.

The diplomatic relations between Burundi and Rwanda have deteriorated since 2015 when the crisis erupted in Burundi following the disputed re-election of President Pierre Nkurunziza. Thousands of opponents of President Nkurunziza have taken refuge in Rwanda.

44 African out of 55 members of the AU have just signed an agreement establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)

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