On the occasion of the 87th Birthday of Queen Elizabeth II and her 60th Crowning Anniversary, British Ambassador to Burundi Mr. Ben Lewin resident at Kigali in Rwanda, celebrated the event on 18th July2013 at Résidence Ubuntu Hotel-Bujumbura- by Yves Didier Irakoze
Apart from different Government Authorities, Members of Diplomatic Corps operating in Burundi, high rank NGO’s workers and other high administration officials were present in the ceremony which was highlighted by soft saxophone melodies as well as a rich cocktail offered to the guests by Ambassador Ben Lewin.
During his speech, the Ambassador insisted on the good bilateral cooperation between Burundi and Great Britain marked by the opening of Burundi Embassy in London.
Ambassador Ben Lewin appreciated the pride of Burundi due to the performance of the athlete lady Francine Niyonsaba who represented Burundi in London Olympic Games. It is worth recalling that this athlete was classified the 7th in the world in women 800 meters.
“Moreover, the relations have been strengthened by some visits of Burundian authorities in Great Britain: President Pierre Nkurunziza during the Summit of London on Somalia in February, First Vice-President in May and Public Health Minister in June. This explains the eagerness of Burundi’s will to adhere to the great Common Wealth family and the request is actually being analyzed,” states the ambassador.
Ambassador Lewin also pointed out the British contribution in security while providing equipment, remuneration to AMISOM troops in Somalia. Great Britain also participates to build infrastructures of military exercises at MUDUBUGU as well as Gakumbu Camp and offer training in the English language to Burundian officers in order to work effectively with their EAC’s fellows.
“Great Britain will continue to support Burundi Authority Revenue to allow it to play its role in collecting taxes to fight against poverty and ensure economic growth in Burundi. It will also support Programs of Burundi towards European Union, United Nations and other International institutions,” states Mr. Ben Lewin
Focus on some issues
Even though the UK is attached to values that it shares with Burundi, it is worrying about the Press Law in Burundi which restricts the journalist career.
“I’m also concerned by repetitive violence cases of political nature which have happened these last months. As Burundian friends, the UK and I would like to see the solutions to those issues. We would like to ensure that Burundians are governed in a democratic State where the right of expression is respected,” declares the Ambassador.
However, he is glad to notice that Burundian authorities in collaboration with BINUB have initiated a political dialogue to allow political actors and all citizens to find solutions progressively to various issues in order to set up a favourable environment for the 2015 elections.
Ambassador Albert Shingiro, representing the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation has ensured that Burundi Government has adopted since some years a series of reforms in order to create a safe and good environment to peace consolidation and security.
“The government of Burundi has made a lot of effort to strengthen the state of right and set up sustainable development. Today, Burundi is involved in creating a right environment for free and best elections in2015,” states Ambassador Shingiro.
He adds that getting back to peace that Burundi would like to have, has encouraged the government to launch its priorities like national reconciliation, education, health for everybody, political and economic good governance, reconstruction and economic revival.
Burundi is proud of the achieved steps
According to Ambassador Albert Shingiro, achieving national reconciliation, Burundians don’t have any choice rather than reading together the history of their country characterized by shady periods.
“It is in that context that the Truth and Reconciliation Commission has recently been put in place with the assistance of the United Nations,” he declares.
Hence, in order to have durable living conditions, the Government should pursue and consolidate a sincere, transparent and constructive dialogue between all political actors. As you know there is an adequate Forum which has been already established for that reason.
“The government of Burundi is aware that the respect of human right is the pillar of every democracy. And as you already know the government of Burundi made significant effort in this domain with the creation of Independent Human Right Commission. This political process is a normal evolution that any country in the world has to take. Then, it can’t constitute preoccupation issue but rather an encouragement and a support Mr. Ambassador,” points out Ambassador Shingiro.
The Ambassador, however, deplores the closing of the Department of International Development Bureau (DFID) in Burundi that has given rise to multiple questions about the future relations between our two countries.
He concludes that the return of DFID considerably wished by many Burundians who benefitted of the program and the opening of the British Diplomatic Mission at Bujumbura would be beneficial for the two parts as Burundi is in a strategic position in the region but also a country that needs an urgent recovery after a long period of war.