KIGALI, Rwanda

The EU lifted restrictions Tuesday on financial support which were imposed on Burundi amid a deteriorating political situation six years ago.

“Today’s decision to lift restrictions is a result of the peaceful political process that started with the general elections of May 2020 and which has opened a new window of hope for the population of Burundi,” the EU said in a statement.

The EU imposed sanctions in 2016 at the height of a political crisis following the late President Pierre Nkurunziza’s extension of his tenure which triggered protests.

More than 330,000 Burundians fled to Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

But many refugees have since voluntarily returned, while cooperation with the international community and neighboring countries has been revitalized.

Since the 2020 elections, the EU has acknowledged progress by the Burundian government concerning human rights, good governance and the rule of law, as well as commitments taken in a roadmap to further improvements in those areas, the EU added.

It, however, said persisting challenges remain in the areas of human rights, good governance, reconciliation and the rule of law.

Further progress would be beneficial for all Burundians, including through the implementation of the roadmap, in the framework of ongoing EU-Burundi political dialogue, it said.

The statement pledged the EU and other international partners’ readiness to support ongoing efforts of Burundian authorities to stabilize and consolidate democratic institutions, promote human rights, good governance and the rule of law.

In imposing the sanctions, the EU considered that the government then was not in compliance with essential elements set out in their partnership agreement in relation to human rights, democracy and the rule of law.

The measures included the suspension of financial support and disbursements of funds directly to the Burundian administration or institutions, including budgetary support.

Last year, the US lifted sanctions that were imposed on the military and security officials, citing positive political developments following the elections.​​​​​​​

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