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Former US special envoy says US must support Burundi peacekeeping mission

Map of Burundi
The former US presidential special representative to the Great Lakes region, Howard Wolpe, urged the US Congress on Thursday to support the peacekeeping mission due to be sent by the African Union (AU) to Burundi. "These African nations can neither undertake - nor sustain - this critical mission without the substantial financial and logistical support of the United States and others within the international community," Wolpe said in a written testimony submitted to the House Committee on International Relations, subcommittee Africa. "There can be no higher priority than standing up and maintaining this peacekeeping mission," he said. A 3,500-strong AU peacekeeping force made up of soldiers from Ethiopia, Mozambique and South Africa is to be deployed in Burundi under a peace agreement to end the country's civil war. Wolpe said Burundi's peace process was still fluid and unstable, but that failure would bring dire consequences for the rest of the region. He said it would not only increase the suffering of the Burundian people but would jeopardise the ongoing efforts to demobilise armed groups operating in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Wolpe said that if peace took hold, Burundi would need financial and technical assistance from the world community because it lacked infrastructure and economic stability. He said one of Burundi's "most daunting tasks" would be to reintegrate more than one million refugees and internally displaced people back into the community.

This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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