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Belgium grants Bujumbura 2 million euros

The Belgian government has granted Burundi two million euros (US $2.4 million) to pay civil servants' salaries and help boost the country's social stability, a Belgian government official said on Monday.

The spokesman for the Belgian development cooperation minister, Erik Silance, said from Brussels that officials from the two countries signed the grant agreement on Friday and that the money was expected to get to Bujumbura, the Burundian capital, in a few days.

"It is a specific operation that responds to Burundian authorities' request," Silance said.

He added that the grant was equivalent to Burundian civil servants' salaries for one-and-a-half months.

Silance said Belgium considered it crucial that its former colony paid its workers' salaries now that the country's peace process had taken a promising direction. Burundi completed a series of elections in August that ushered in a democratic government after more than a decade of civil war.

The electoral process ended with the inauguration of former rebel leader Pierre Nkurunziza as president on 26 August, and has revived the hope of having a finally pacified Burundi.

Silance said besides Belgium, the EU was also willing to support Burundi's new administration.

For long term aid, Silance said, a joint Belgium-Burundi commission would be set up before December "so that priority sectors can be jointly fixed".

He added that Belgium was keen on intervening in the health, education, development and good governance sectors.

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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