Burundi: Security

Foreign and Commonwealth Office written question – answered on 22nd December 2015.

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Photo of John Mann John Mann Labour, Bassetlaw

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps he has taken to contribute towards stabilising the security situation in Burundi.

Photo of James Duddridge James Duddridge The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

I have recently returned from a visit to Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi on 15, 16 and 17 December to contribute towards stabilising the security situation in Burundi. In my meeting with the Ugandan President, Yoweri Museveni, I encouraged him to take forward the proposed dialogue with renewed urgency. In my meeting with the Rwandan Foreign Minister, I underlined the need for constructive engagement to solve the Burundi crisis. I was clear with the Burundian Foreign Minister that President Nkurunziza must take up President Museveni’s offer of mediation and engage in talks with all parties. This follows a number of telephone calls I have made to the Burundian Foreign Minister following the inflammatory comments made by the President and President of the Senate. This engagement is the latest example of the lead role that the UK has played in building a single, consistent, international community response to the security situation in Burundi. In January we set up a group of key international partners, who have since worked together to develop a common strategy and encouraged President Nkurunziza to engage with the international community and respect the principles of the Arusha Agreement. In June the UK appointed a Special Envoy to the Great Lakes, Danae Dholakia, who is active in delivering our messages on Burundi. We have supported the East Africa Community in delivering a regional solution. And we have encouraged the African Union efforts to play a strong role in organising an inclusive dialogue outside of Burundi. This would do much to help to pave the way for delivery of a sustainable solution to the crisis. We continue to work with the African Union to mobilise the financial and political resources to support the mediation process. It was under the UK’s Presidency of the UN Security Council that Resolution 2248 was agreed. This Resolution demonstrates the unity of the international community in its approach to the crisis. We continue to work with our colleagues around the world on contingency options. In addition, the Department for International Development is providing £14.25 million to support the relief efforts for refugees fleeing to the region. The Department for International Development is further providing £3.9 million for the refugee response in Rwanda through the United Nations and non-governmental organisations. This has been used to fund refugee transport, medical care, shelters and food rations. Finally, the UK strongly supported a sanctions regime for Burundi. Four individuals have been listed so far. The European Union and African Union are giving consideration to further sanctions against individuals.

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