Cooperation

COMESA to reimburse expenses used in preparations of missed 20th Summit in Burundi

Following the relocation of the 20th Summit of Heads of State of the Common Market for Southern and Eastern Africa-COMESA, Sindiso Ngwenya, Secretary General said on the BBC that Bujumbura has not reassured the Heads of state of COMESA member states on the security prevailing in Burundi. “The majority of them feared for their safety once in Bujumbura during the 20th COMESA summit,” he said.

Sindiso Ngwenya: “We advised Burundi officials to identify all expenses used in preparations and submit them to the organization”

Sindiso Ngwenya: “We advised Burundi officials to identify all expenses used in preparations and submit them to the organization”

COMESA Secretary General has said only the presidents of Uganda, Zimbabwe, Comoros and Zambia had confirmed their move to Bujumbura whereas the law governing COMESA stipulates that at least 13 Heads of state of member states of the organization must ensure their participation. “Otherwise, the summit must be relocated to the headquarters of the organization”, he said so adding that Bujumbura would rather deploy a delegation to reassure the Heads of State who fear for their security once in Burundi.

On 15 May, the COMESA Secretary General sent a letter which informed Bujumbura that the summit, which was supposed to be held in the capital Bujumbura from 1 to 10 June, was postponed until July in Zambia. Sindiso Ngwenya also said the Burundian government expenses for the preparation of the summit would be reimbursed. “I advised Burundi officials to identify all expenses used in the preparation of the summit and submit them. I will present the report to the Heads of State during the summit so they evaluate it and decide what to do with it,” he said.

On 22 June, Philippe Nzobonariba, Spokesman for the government said COMESA must reimburse the expenses used in the preparation of the summit. “This organization must respect the financing agreement as agreed between COMESA and Burundi,” he said.

Nzobonariba also said everything has been concocted by the European Union which funds COMESA at 80%. “The EU never wanted that development projects take place in Burundi,” he said.

COMESA Secretary General dismissed the allegations saying “Africans must know how to solve their problems and not blame others”. The 20th Summit is scheduled for Lusaka in Zambia, on 18 July.

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