Burundi: Human Rights, Justice Still on Agenda in EU-Burundi Talks

The Burundian government and European Union Thursday winded up the second round of political dialogue aimed at improving relations and leading to the lifting of sanctions imposed on Burundi since 2015.

The political dialogue was attended by ambassadors of Germany, Belgium, France and the Netherlands.

While addressing the press in Bujumbura, Burundi's Foreign Affairs Minister Albert Shingiro said that the second round of talks included a roadmap towards improving relations between Burundi and the European Union.

"Its high time we close the chapter of 2015 to 2020, so we discussed a lot on issues regarding human rights, justice, good governance and co-operation," he said.

Mr Shingiro said his government is working towards the lifting of all sanctions imposed by the EU as per Article 8 of the Cotonou agreement.

The European Union in 2015 suspended direct aid to Burundi.

Last week, the US released a statement indicating continued human rights violation in the country, with the media space and freedom still a concern as some international media outlets are still banned to operate in the country.

"The dialogue is going on well and we hope that this will continue as the Foreign Affairs minister is expected to visit EU headquarters in Brussels very soon," said Claude Bochu, the European Union ambassador to Burundi.

Before the suspension of EU aid to Burundi, EU member states contributed almost 50 percent of Bujumbura's annual budget.

The European Union is expected to inject €67 million this year in energy, agriculture and health.

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