Bujumbura, Burundi - Japan will give Burundi food aid, worth US$ 6.8 million, diplomatic sources here told PANA, saying that an agreement to that effect was signed Wednesday between the Burundi Minister of Foreign Relations and International Cooperation, Laurent Kavakure, and the Japanese ambassador to Burundi, Takata Toshihisa.
At the ceremony, the Burundi minister ceased the opportunity to solicit the Asian country’s support on anti-fire equipment.
PANA recalls that fire recently gutted Bujumbura’s central market with the poorly-equipped Burundi firemen unable to salvage the situation.
Cooperation between Japan and Burundi, affected by the Burundi civil war, was restored in 2006. It covers mainly the areas of road infrastructures and public health.
-0- PANA FB/TBM/PAN/VAO 13Feb2013
Pana 14/02/2013AU reactivates Malagasy peace plan, frowns at rights abuses
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia - The African Union (AU) rose from its first meeting on the stalled political process in Madagascar in 14 months, with a call on Malagasy politicians to implement the political roadmap leading to presidential elections in July this year.
AU’s acting Commissioner for Peace and Security Jean Pierre Ezin, said although the continental body was impressed with implementation of the various aspects of the political roadmap, it was mostly concerned about lack of freedom of expression and association in the Indian ocean state.
Madagascar’s political crisis, which broke out in early 2009, made limited progress late 2012 when the leader of the ruling junta, Andry Rajoelina, and his rival, Marc Ravalomanana, agreed not to contest upcoming elections planned for 24 July.
A three-round election has been planned to lift Madagascar from its protracted political crisis, starting with the Presidential election, followed by the parliamentary and municipal elections.
The AU said important aspects of the roadmap, including national reconciliation and the implementation of confidence-building measures, remained unimplemented.
President Rajoelina’s government is expected to take steps to grant amnesty to rivals, including the former President Ravalomanana, who were to be jailed for corruption over a controversial Presidential jet.
Ezin, addressing a meeting of the AU’s Peace and Security Council (PSC), said freedom of expression, freedom of the press and association were curtailed in the country.
The current electoral calendar, providing for elections from 24 July to 23 October, 2013, was reached after difficulties were experienced in sticking to the previous time table of May.
“It is important that the AU continues to support the ongoing efforts of the SADC mediation. It is also important that this meeting of the PSC - which is the first to be devoted to the evolution of the situation in Madagascar the past 14 months - can send the right message to the people and political forces in Madagascar, finding words and gestures of encouragement to persevere in the right path,” Ezin said.