NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 2-President Uhuru Kenyatta has committed to support Burundi’s bid to have economic sanctions imposed by US Treasury department lifted.
The President who spoke during the 58th Madaraka Day Fete held in Kisumu assured Burundi’s head of state to hold talks with other East Africa Communities leaders to spur development in the region.
“I want to assure you that together with other East Africa Community member states we will stand together with you to ensure that the economic sanctions imposed by US Treasury department against Burundi are lifted,” said Kenyatta.
In 2015, an executive order issued by the former United States President Barack Obama, imposed sanctions against Burundi, targeting individuals and entities deemed to threaten peace and security in Burundi, undermine democratic processes, or who are responsible for or complicit in human rights abuses.
The move followed political crisis in Burundi where hundreds of people had been killed in protests and a coup attempt in the region. This was after the deceased former President Pierre Nkurunziza announced his candidature for a third term that was greatly rejected by Burundians.
Donors cut off funding while the deceased former head of Burundi Nkurunziza shut down the UN human rights office and withdrew Burundi’s membership in the International Criminal Court.
United States Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control has since required that anyone doing business in or with Burundi or Burundians who may be subject to U.S. sanctions should assess, in conjunction with counsel, their existing and proposed international transactions to determine whether the activities are permissible.
The matter has since worsened employment and increased poverty due a sharp decline in economic activities.
Last year, the European Union further extended the sanctions regime against Burundi officials till October 2021.
Burundi, one of the world’s poorest countries has a population of 11 million and made headlines in 2015 over its political unrest at that time.
The head of state further called for unity between Kenya and Burundi to ensure economic development in the two countries.
“Burundi should feel at home when they are in Kenya and we should continue engaging with each to improve the livelihoods of our citizens, “ Uhuru added.