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Vol 39 No 24

Published 4th December 1998


Ending an embargo

Hopes for peace rise as ethnic politics give way to a new power-sharing deal

International pressure is growing to lift the embargo imposed on Burundi by its neighbours. Until now Tanzania and Uganda have been the main backers of the sanctions which were imposed on Bujumbura six days after Major Pierre Buyoya's coup d'état on 25 July 1996. The latest appeal came on 29 November from the embargo's most fervent supporter, Julius Nyerere. Tanzania's former President is chief mediator in Burundi's internal peace process but has come to be seen, at home and abroad, as something of a liability. Many, including the European Union which finances his mediation, have been pressing him to help to lift the embargo. So it was at a meeting of EU development ministers in Brussels that Mwalimu announced that he would ask regional leaders to do so. The ministers welcomed his proposal in a 30 November statement and signalled that it could trigger a resumption of official aid (which is supposed to await a peace agreement).

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