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Peacebuilding Commission – Meeting sul Burundi

Intervento dell’ Italia durante il meeting della Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) sul Burundi —

Thank you, Mr. Chair, for convening this meeting and for your detailed report on your recent visit to Bujumbura. I would like to thank also Mr. Conille for his presentation.

Mr. Chair, let me begin my intervention by commending your visit to Burundi, which proves once again how valuable your able leadership is in chairing this Configuration.

We share the view that the preparation of the 2020 elections requires considerable attention, also by the PBC. It is crucial for Burundi to hold free, fair, inclusive, peaceful and democratic elections in 2020.

In order to achieve such a result, we believe it is essential to continue an inclusive political dialogue among all the relevant political actors in Burundi, in the spirit and the letter of the Arusha agreement. Such a dialogue should take place in an open political space, in which the press can play its key role of informing the Burundian people.

In this regard, Italy attaches the greatest importance to the role of the region. We stand ready to support Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda in continuing the excellent work done by former President Mkapa as facilitator of the Inter-Burundian dialogue under the auspices of the East African Community. The PBC should continue to liaise with the countries of the region, which should lead any initiatives.

On the socio-economic dialogue, we agree with the Chair that the PBC should continue to remain engaged in supporting the implementation of the National Development Plan presented by the Government. We consider it as an essential component of the strategy for peacebuilding and sustaining peace in Burundi.

The creation of a conducive environment for the full realization of human rights is also essential in paving the way for free and fair elections. The participation and empowerment of youth and women is, in this perspective, of paramount importance. We encourage the Authorities to engage with the office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, in order, inter alia, to reopen the Office of the High Commissioner in Bujumbura.

The humanitarian situation deserves also our attention. While recognizing that some progress has been achieved, more has to be done to respond to critical needs of the population, particularly concerning the level of food insecurity.

In conclusion, I would like to recall the important engagement of the European Union in Burundi. The EU devotes considerable financial resources to projects in key areas for the future of the country, such as rural development, access to energy and health.

It is important to notice that the EU has never imposed sanctions on Burundi. EU has applied the measures of Art. 96 of the Cotonou agreement. We urge all the partners to refrain from using a confrontational language, which doesn’t help in advancing our common agenda.

Thank you, Mr. Chair.