BUJUMBURA May 9th (ABP) – The Cabinet meeting was held on Wednesday, May 4, 2022, at the presidential palace of Gitega on the presidency of the Head of State. On the agenda were several items, including the bill on the ratification by the Republic of Burundi of the agreement on the mutual abolition of visa procedures for holders of diplomatic or service passports between the government of the Republic of Burundi and that of the Russian Federation, presented by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Development Cooperation.
With the aim of intensifying bilateral ties of friendship and cooperation, further strengthening their bilateral relations, developing and expanding their cooperation framework, the Government of the Republic of Burundi and the Government of the Russian Federation have signed in Bujumbura, on February 6, 2018, the agreement on the mutual abolition of visa procedures for holders of diplomatic or service passports. By ratifying this agreement, Burundi will have contributed to its implementation, particularly in relation to the promotion of free movement and the right of establishment for nationals of the two countries.
The Minister in charge of Foreign Affairs also presented the bill on the ratification by the Republic of Burundi of the general bilateral cooperation agreement between the government of the Republic of Serbia and that of the Republic of Burundi. The Republic of Burundi and the Republic of Serbia, based on the bilateral ties of friendship, cooperation and solidarity that exist between the two countries and their peoples, wish to strengthen the existing mutual ties, develop and further extend their cooperation framework.
To that end, a general cooperation agreement was signed between the two countries on February 20, 2019 in Belgrade. It is an instrument that will serve as a basis for the negotiations and the conclusion of other sectoral agreements in various relevant areas. By ratifying this agreement, Burundi will have contributed to the consolidation and improvement of mutual cooperation relations based on the principle of respect for national sovereignty. He will also have contributed to economic diplomacy, which is one of his government’s priorities. After discussions, the project was adopted.
The Cabinet meeting then analyzed the draft protocol of the member states of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) relating to the elections, which was presented by the same minister. Elections in the world in general and in Africa in particular, play an important role in peace processes and democratic transitions. Their aim is to enable citizens to freely choose their political representatives and to allocate power peacefully.
However, when a society is already experiencing tensions and the stakes of electoral competition are high, violence and fraud can affect elections.
According to a 2015 study, 20% of elections over the past two decades are considered violent. This violence is not the result of the elections, but rather the reflection of the dysfunctions of the political processes. When well organized, elections can pave the way for freedom of expression and initiate peaceful alternations or transitions. Based on these observations, the United Nations Standing Advisory Committee on Security Issues in Central Africa has risen to take matters into its own hands, in order to establish peace, security and stability in the sub-region.
Thus, during the 50th meeting of this committee, held in Malabo in the Republic of Equatorial Guinea from December 2 to 4, 2020, the latter made a statement from Malabo on democratic and peaceful elections as a means of strengthening stability and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in Central Africa.
Proposed by the Republic of Burundi, the theme of the management of electoral processes in the ECCAS area was developed during the 51st meeting of the said committee, held in Bujumbura from May 24 to 28, 2021.
During that meeting, one of the recommendations made by member states was to “develop a sub-regional protocol on the management of elections in Central Africa”. That is how the Republic of Burundi, which chaired the said committee in this period from May 2021 to November 2021, proposed to initiate a draft protocol and present it to the other ECCAS States. This draft protocol, once accepted by the Member States, will help the entire community of the sub-region to master certain politico-security problems which haunt the sub-region. After discussions, the project was adopted.