BRUSSELS, 4 February 2021 – Burundi resumed relations with the European Union (EU) on Tuesday, ending a five-year freeze in relations between the parties.
“I am delighted with the spirit of openness and mutual trust which characterised the resumption of political dialogue between Burundi and the European Union,” Burundi’s foreign affairs minister, Ambassador Albert Shingiro, wrote Tuesday in a tweet.
Shingiro, the EU Ambassador Claude Bochu and the envoys of EU member states signed the agreement resuming relations between the two parties.
The EU mission in Burundi tweeted: “The EU in Burundi tweeted, “Resumption expected after 5 years of political dialogue between #UE and @BurundiGov. Good working climate.”
All direct funding from the EU to Burundi was suspended in 2016 citing gross human rights violations, including the killing of over 400 people during Burundi’s political crisis in 2015.
The crisis was sparked by the insistence by the late President Pierre Nkurunziza’s to run for a third term in violation of constitutional provisions on term limits.
The parties are praising a “return to political dialogue” in the country, adding that it will “benefit the Burundian and European peoples”.
President Evariste Ndayishimiye, who came to power last June, has recently called for political tolerance and offered to allow previously banned or shutdown media enterprises to reopen.
Last December 7, the United Nations Security Council approved of the resumption of relations between international partners and Burundi.
The Security Council claimed that the organization of peaceful elections in May 2020 marked a new phase for Burundi.
Last November, the Permanent Council of La Francophonie lifted sanctions it had slapped on Burundi in 2015.