The President of Burundi, Evariste Ndayishimiye has said that the time has come to mend political tensions that ruined relations with Rwanda since 2015.
Ndayishimiye made the revelation on Thursday 1st July 2021 as Burundi celebrated the 59th Independence Day.
The ceremony was also attended by Rwanda’s Prime Minister, Dr. Edouard Ngirente representing President Paul Kagame.
Ndayishimiye revealed that the representation of Rwanda during the ceremony induces pride to Burundians and considered it the beginning of a new page for both countries relations.
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“I would like to let you know that this day is memorable to Burundians. I am pretty sure that no Burundian is unhappy today because our neighbors from Rwanda have come to stand with us,” he said.
Ndayishimiye told Premier Ngirente that the visit to Burundi has impressed Burundians considering tensions that have existed between both countries.
“Your coming has impressed Burundians due to tensions that have characterized both countries. I would like to tell you that we have a common saying both in Kirundi and Kinyarwanda […] Agafuni kabagara ubucuti ni akarenge [friendship is reinforced by reciprocal visits]. Today’s visit conveys a meaningful message,” he said.
Ndayishimiye further explained that the visit is a gesture for Rwanda and Burundi to turn a new page of relations.
“We are aware that Rwanda and Burundi have been writing a book for the past years. We are now bound to read it to write a new chapter. This gives hope to read the previous book together and close it to write another chapter which alludes to normalized friendship. There is optimism that we are leaving the past turbulence behind to start a new era of relations,” he revealed.
Ndayishimiye also conveyed a message to his counterpart of Rwanda.
“Allow me to carry our message to all Rwandan friends, particularly extend our greetings to the President of the Republic of Rwanda, Paul Kagame and tell him that we are extremely delighted with this visit to Burundi which gives us great hope,” he noted.
Addressing participants of the ceremony, Premier Ngirente highlighted that it was of great honor to join Burundians during celebrations of the 59th Independence Day and thanked Burundians for warm welcome.
He thanked President Ndayishimiye for inviting Rwanda to the historical event and reiterated Rwanda’s commitment to promote cooperation and bilateral relations for interests of both countries’ people.
“It is time for Rwanda and Burundi to build on shared foundations of history to achieve sustainable development,” he said.
In 2015, a group of Burundian soldiers attempted to overthrow the then President Pierre Nkurunziza but the plan was nullified. Since then, Burundi has been accusing Rwanda of accommodating suspects behind the failed coup plot. Rwanda has however been insisting that the individuals are considered as refugees who must be protected against deportation by international laws.
The political mishap later halted cooperation and free movements between both countries.
Despite misunderstandings that have characterized both countries, both countries are promising to bring the situation back to normal for mutual benefits.
As he delivered ‘State of the Nation Address’ towards the end of last year, President Kagame explained that Rwanda continues to partner with neighboring countries to address security issues in the region.
He pointed out foreign relations’ gaps for countries including Burundi noting that the situation will finally get a solution.