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Burundi cites “busy calendar” as reason for not attending summit

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The Government of Burundi declined to take part in the heads of state summit being organized by the DRC in the border town of Goma.

The Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) President Felix Tshisekedi had been scheduled to host Rwanda’s Paul Kagame, Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni, Burundi’s Evariste Ndayishimiye, and  Angola’s João Lourenço at the summit scheduled for Sunday, 13 September 2020. It had been arranged that the five countries should send technical teams to be in Goma on Wednesday, 9 September 2020, to prepare the working documents. Delegations at ministerial level were scheduled to also arrive in Goma for their segment on Saturday, 12 September 2020.

However, it is now emerging that Burundi’s foreign affairs ministry sent a diplomatic note to the DRC, saying that it would not be taking part in the summit.

In the letter, now leaked to media and dated Tuesday, 8 September 2020, Burundi cited a “busy calendar” which doesn’t allow it to take part in the summit as the reason for its unavailability. Instead, the government in Gitega said it prefers that bilateral engagements are held first with Kinshasa, in an effort to work on a range of issues between DRC and Burundi.

It is unclear at this point if Rwanda’s president will be there, but a Rwandan delegation is reported to already be at the summit’s venue, indicating the president’s possible attendance.



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