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EU aid to Burundi at stake in Tuesday talks

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map_of_burundiStrife-torn Burundi’s human rights record comes under review in crunch talks with the EU on Tuesday that could see the bloc suspend aid to the impoverished central African nation, a spokeswoman said.

The European Union is the top aid donor for Burundi which is in turmoil after President Pierre Nkurunziza won a third term in a vote the opposition said was illegal.

A European Commission spokeswoman gave no details of the talks but Brussels had said previously it would invoke as invoking the Cotonou agreement if its terms are breached.

The Cotonou agreement is the framework for the 28-nation EU’s economic and development ties with African, Caribbean and Pacific countries, setting the rules for mutual cooperation including the promotion of human rights.

“The objective of the talks is to find a solution acceptable to all the parties and identify the measures to take to redress non-respect of the accord,” it said.

EU aid for 2014-20 is worth up to 432 million euros, in part to help Burundi recover from a horrific civil war which left 300,000 dead.

Burundi has been in turmoil since Nkurunziza stood for office again, defying the opposition which said a third term breached the peace accord that ended the conflict.

There have been increasingly violent clashes between loyalists and the opposition. Last month Belgium, the former colonial power, advised its nationals to leave and the EU evacuated staff families after the UN warned Burundi was on the brink of “mass violence.”


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