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Burundi’s crisis and the Arusha Peace and Reconciliation Agreement: which way forward?

Stef Vandeginste

No 17, IOB Analyses & Policy Briefs from Universiteit Antwerpen, Institute of Development Policy (IOB)

Abstract: In virtually all of the international diplomatic statements concerning the ongoing political and security crisis in Burundi, reference is made to the Arusha Peace and Reconciliation Agreement that was signed in August 2000. The current crisis is seen as potentially “seriously undermining the significant gains achieved through the Arusha Agreement”. Repeated calls have been made for a “genuine and inclusive dialogue, based on the respect of the Arusha Agreement”. At the domestic level as well, the Arusha Agreement stands at the heart of the political dispute. The missions of the National Commission for Inter-Burundian Dialogue, established in September 2015, include an evaluation of the Arusha Agreement. A newly established opposition movement, CNARED, is named after its main objective which is the restoration of the respect for the Arusha Agreement. Most of the time, however, references to Arusha – and the need to respect its letter and/or its spirit – remain rather vague. This begs two important questions which this Brief addresses, and which are analysed in more detail in an accompanying IOB Working Paper.5 First, why should the Arusha Agreement, a fifteen year old peace accord, be so central in the current political debate? What gains need to be preserved? Second, assuming that there is a political agreement around the need to preserve the ‘Arusha acquis’, how can its respect be ensured and strengthened through Burundi’s political and judicial institutions? These questions will hopefully feature prominently on the agenda of the – presumably - forthcoming dialogue and negotiations between Burundi’s political actors and between Burundi and its international partners.

Keywords: Burundi; crisis; Arusha Peace and Reconciliation Agreement (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 4 pages
Date: 2015-12
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