Burundian president, Pierre Nkurunziza

Burundian president, Pierre Nkurunziza

President Jakaya Kikwete, who is also the present EAC Chairman, has convened the summit to resolve the political unrest in the tiny member state following President Pierre Nkurunziza to run for an unconstitutional third term.

Speaking during the opening of the EAC 32nd Extra-Ordinary meeting of the Council of Ministers, Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Minister Bernard Membe said the resolution will assist heads of state to strike a lasting solution to the political stand-off.

Mr Membe, who was acting as the EAC Chairperson for the Council of Ministers, stressed the importance of the resolutions in assisting the EAC sister member state to address the political crisis, which have so far resulted to over 50,000 refugees seeking shelter in neighbouring countries.

The refugees are in Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania and the number keep increasing on daily basis, while there is limited time before Burundi goes for general elections in June. Mr Membe said Burundi is part of EAC and the conflict has forced member states to seek solution to address the concern so that the EAC treaty can be implemented as it should be.

?It is important to find a solution to the situation in Burundi because if one of the EAC member state is suffering it can spill over to the other countries,? he noted.

He told the meeting that President Kikwete had asked the East African ministers for foreign affairs to visit Burundi and find out if the region can provide any assistance to address the crisis happening in that country.

EAC Secretary General, Dr Richard Sezibera, said the meeting will discuss among other reports, the joint report of the Foreign Affairs Ministers, who visited Burundi, inputs from the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) EAC, United Nations representatives and African Union Commissioner, EAC elders led by Judge (retired) Joseph Warioba and from Burundi Foreign Affairs and EAC Ministers on the Burundi crisis.

Apart from the East African heads of State, others who will be present at today?s summit include the Vice-President of South Africa, who will represent Jacob Zuma; AU Commissioner, EAC Secretary General and representatives from the UN, the European Union (EU) and the government of the United States of America.

By ROSE ATHUMANI, Tanzania Daily News

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