Monitoring the situation in the Republic of Burundi by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation ahead of that country’s national general elections later this year

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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

FOR WRITTEN REPLY

QUESTION NO: 1565 (NW1777E) AS PUBLISHED IN IQP NO.11-2015 OF 24 APRIL 2015.

MR S MOKGALAPA (DA) TO ASK THE MINISTER OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION:

(1) Whether her department is currently monitoring the situation in the Republic of Burundi ahead of that country’s national general elections later this year; if so, what have they found the situation to be;

(2) What is the current status of diplomatic relations between South Africa and the Republic of Burundi;

(3) What is the name of the (a) ambassador and/or (b) consul-general currently posted in (i) Bujumbura or (ii) any of the Republic of Burundi’s urban areas;

(4) Will she, in view of South Africa’s influential role in the African Union, consider facilitating talks with President Pierre Nkurunziza with regard to his intention to run for a third presidential term, which would be in violation of the Republic of Burundi’s `constitution and the Arusha Peace and Reconciliation Agreement for Burundi of 28 August 2000?

REPLY:

(1) Yes, the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) is monitoring the situation in the Republic of Burundi ahead of the 2015 General Elections through the South African Embassy in Bujumbura. With regard to the situation in Burundi, the Department’s assessment is that the situation can be described as relatively stable, with sporadic incidents which are being monitored and addressed by all the parties, including the government.

(2) South Africa maintains good and cordial relations with the Republic of Burundi. As the Honourable Member will be aware, President Nkurunziza undertook a successful State Visit to South Africa from 4-5 November 2014. The main objectives of the State Visit were to strengthen political and economic relations between the two countries. As a result, the State Visit registered a number of positive outcomes, including the signing of a Joint Commission of Cooperation Agreement (JCC) as well as a Cultural Cooperation Agreement. The two countries also agreed to establish a Joint Business Council (JBC) in order to promote and strengthen business and commercial relations between the two countries.

(3) The current Ambassador to Burundi is H.E. Mr Ephraim Oupa Monareng.

(4) South Africa played a historical role during the peace negotiations that led to the Arusha Accords and the Constitution. One of the principles of South Africa’s Foreign Policy is that South Africa should respect the sovereignty of other countries. In this regard, South Africa believes that the issue of whether President Nkurunziza would or would not be entitled to run for a further term in the 2015 General Elections is a matter which should be resolved by the Burundians themselves as well as the relevant democratic institutions, namely the Constitutional Court.

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