EU suspends direct aid to Burundi government

Reuters News
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Posted: Mar 14, 2016 7:14 AM

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union has suspended direct financial support for the Burundian government after concluding that it had not done enough to find a political solution to conflict that has so far cost more than 400 lives.

Burundi's President Pierre Nkurunziza triggered the crisis in April last year when he announced a bid for a third term. He went on to win a disputed election in July, in the face of street protests and violent clashes.

The European Council, the body that represents the 28 EU nations, said in a statement on Monday that it had finished talks with Burundi and declared that commitments proposed by Bujumbura were insufficient to address EU concerns.

The European Union funds about half the annual budget of Burundi and has imposed sanctions on officials close to Burundi's president.

Neven Mimica, the EU Commissioner for international cooperation and development, said that the EU remained committed to providing emergency assistance and was preparing projects to ensure basic services for the population, but without channeling resources through the government.

The EU decision will be reviewed at least twice a year.

(Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop, editing by Robin Emmott)