EAC summit to discuss crisis in Burundi

Published by Africa News Agency
On 7 September 2016 saa 06:14
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East African Community (EAC) leaders will discuss the stalled negotiations to end the Burundi crisis at a summit in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, the EAC secretariat announced on Tuesday.

The EAC secretariat said that the leaders would on Thursday, consider a report by former Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa on his attempts to mediate negotiations among the Burundian parties for a resolution of the crisis.

The Burundi government announced that Home Affairs Minister Alain Aimé Nyamitwe would represent it at the summit.

The summit would also consider an EAC ministers’ report on the progress in negotiations to reach a European Union (EU)-EAC Economic Partnership Agreement which would lift trade barriers between the two organisations.

The summit will also discuss the protracted crisis in its newest member state, South Sudan.

This EAC summit is to be held as the security and political situation in Burundi has been judged by the Kenyan, Tanzanian and Ugandan East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) MPs to be “deteriorating”.

Last Monday, they adopted a resolution proposing that no East African Assembly activity should be held in Burundi during this period of crisis. But this will have to be approved by the Heads of the members States.

Some members of the Assembly said they were afraid of losing another member of the Assembly, this referred to a Burundian representative in the Assembly, Hafsa Mossi, who was shot dead in the capital Bujumbura in June this year.

But a Burundian member of the Assembly, Isabelle Nahayo, criticised the decision to boycott Burundi.

“I am sure that Burundi is now peaceful and stable. Maybe those who say there is no peace are driven by other minds. There are even some other regional activities like trade fairs which often take place in Burundi. And I even saw some EALA MP’s coming to cool off at the Tanganyika Lake, but i can’t give their names here,” she said.

Last week the EALA named an ad hoc MP commission to scrutinise the EALA latest report on the Burundi crisis and decide what action should be taken about it regionally as well as internationally.

It called on EAC Council of ministers to invoke chapter 7 of the United Nations charter so that the United Nations Security Council could militarily intervene and investigate the human right violations in Burundi because, it said, the crisis in that country had already affected the region.

However, it had been strongly criticised by Burundian authorities.

“It is out of question to invoke that chapter because Burundi is not like Syria”, protested the Burundian East African Affairs Minister Léontine Nzeyimana.

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East African Community leaders will meet to discuss a way forward in dealing with the crisis in Burundi and South Sudan.