NL cuts Burundi foreign aid, situation uncertain

Burundian refugees (Picture: Twitter/@Refugees)Burundian refugees (Picture: Twitter/@Refugees)

The Netherlands has partially stopped its foreign aid to Burundi. This decision was made by Minister Bert Koenders of Foreign Affairs and Minister Lilianne Ploumen of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation for various reasons, they said in a joint statement.

"The situation in Burundi is currently very confusing and very worrisome. There is also the violence and intimidation in recent weeks in the run up to the elections and the lack of commitment by all parties to reach a compromise. All this makes it impossible to proceed as planned." The ministers said. "The situation remains very uncertain and full of risks"

The Netherlands initially pledged to make manpower and resources available to help the African country to hold elections later this month. "The Netherlands had hoped that the EAC summit of East African countries on Burundi in Dar es Salaam yesterday would offer prospects for normalization of relations. But this meeting had to be postponed due to the developments of the past 24 hours in Burundi." Koenders said. Ploumen agreed, adding that the Netherlands will only consider resuming the aid once conditions have improved.

Ploumen also decided to stop the support of the army and police reform program in Burundi, noting that the Burundian police was recently accused of going over the line in stopping demonstrations, which led to several deaths. "The Netherlands and Belgium have for a long time cooperated successfully with the professionalization of the security sector. But because of the current situation, it is not justified to continue with that."

According to the ministers' statement, the Netherlands will remain in contact with Burundian authorities and keep insisting on the de-escalation and normalization of relations in the country. "That is first and foremost in the interest of the Burundians", Koenders said.