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Africa: Remarks With Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza Before Their Meeting

August 04, 2014 / --

SECRETARY KERRY: Good afternoon, everybody. It’s my great pleasure to welcome President Nkurunziza of Burundi, and I’m delighted to be able to have a chance to share some thoughts with him today.

We – the United States engages with our Burundi partners on a number of different fronts. First, we are working with them to augment their capacity with respect to law enforcement, the judiciary and military, to develop the institutions and the procedures that will protect citizens and establish a foundation for long-term national and regional stability, and this is a key effort; working on the protection of human rights and countering politically motivated violence; and we’ve been working very hard with our friends in Burundi on that.

We’re also working with the Independent National Electoral Commission to improve the quality of voter education and to enhance the training of electoral officials, as well as develop an electoral dispute resolution procedure in order to build confidence among the citizens in the electoral process. It’s still up to Burundi to secure the notion that elections are going to be free and fair and transparent and peaceful, but the U.S. intends to help where we can.

Finally, the United States provided more than 53 million in Fiscal Year 2013 funding for Burundi primarily to support health-related programs, including those directed at combating HIV/AIDS, malaria, malnutrition, and to provide increased maternal and child health and voluntary family planning efforts.

We also engaged with Burundi on a broader set of issues like conflict mitigation with youth, with very vulnerable youth; the Burundi deployment of peacekeeping missions, which we’re grateful for; and also improved productivity and profitability of the agriculture cycle. So we have a lot going on. There’s a lot of good work, and I look forward to talking with the President about those ways in which we can enhance this partnership. Thank you, Mr. President.

PRESIDENT NKURUNZIZA: (Via interpreter.) First of all, I would like to thank the United States of America for having hosted me and my delegation today. At the same time, I would like to use this opportunity to thank you for all of the support that the United States is providing us in Burundi to support us. And we are a post-conflict country which has had many difficulties in the past, but today we are happy the fact that we are back in peace and we have defense and security agreements. And we are helping other countries that are in difficulty, such as Somalia, Central Africa, or Cote d’Ivoire, but also South Sudan. And very soon, we will also be deployed in South Sudan. That proves that we are at peace, so everything that we receive from the United States, it’s a way of supporting us to move forward. And so I’m very happy that today we are being hosted by the Secretary of State to have an exchange together and to show how the United States and Burundi continue to work together to deal with all of the programs that we work on together. And we would like to thank you for the support that you’re providing Burundi for development and the stability of our country. Thank you very much.

Source: Department of State