Minister Hopeful Of End To Sanctions

PANA Staff Correspondent OUAGADOUGOU- Burkina Faso (PANA) -- The foreign minister of Burundi, Luc Rukingama, is optimistic that the two-year economic sanctions on the country would be lifted soon following progress in the restoration of constitutional rule.
"As we prepare for the Arusha talks on 15 June, Burundi is optimistic because we have largely met the requirements," he told PANA.
Neighbouring countries imposed the sanctions on Burundi following the return to power of Maj.
Pierre Buyoya in 1996.
The OAU Council of Ministers decided on the retention of the sanctions at least until after the Arusha talks brokered by former Tanzanian President Julius Nyerere.
Rukingama said it would be unfair to keep the sanctions, after the Burundi government had a demontstrated strong commitment to constitutional rule, and maintenance of national peace and stability.
Addressing the OAU summit Monday, Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe said "recent developments in Burundi have raised expectations about the possible early return of constitutional order and stability to that country.
" He expressed the hope that all parties to the conflict would attend the Arusha talks.
"All concerned must embrace peace and forsake violence and hatred.
Only ourselves can get rid of dangerous prejudices that have given rise to horrific acts of genocide in that country and Rwanda," Mugabe added, before handing over the OAU chair to the Burkinabe President Blaise Compaore.
Addressing a press conference later, Buyoya said "no more pretexts should be raised to oppress the Burundi people any more.
" Urging an end to the sanctions, he said the OAU was a witness to the progress made by Burundi on the peace process.
"We need help from our partners and our friends in order to carry out the peace process by way of political support and economic reconstruction," Buyoya added.

08 june 1998 20:40:00

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