November 29, 2006

Kikwete: Burundian refugees not forced to return home

Burundi has requested the government to appoint a Tanzanian who will join members of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission for Burundi (TRCB). The Commission will be formed by the government of Burundi, in collaboration with the United Nations (UN). Burundian President Pierre Nkurunzinza said that Tanzania had fully participated in the whole process of restoring peace in Burundi and it would be unfair to exclude it. In responding, President Kikwete pledged that he would appoint a Tanzanian member to the Burundi Truth and Reconciliation Commission. He furthermore said that Tanzania would not hesitate to assist Burundi if its resources allowed and would follow up closely the whole process of rebuilding the neighbouring country, and restoring peace and security.

Kikwete also emphasised that Tanzania would not force Burundian refugees to return home. He said they would go back after the Burundian government had created a conducive environment to receive them. ”The pace of their return is not convincing. The governments of Burundi and Tanzania and UNHCR should sit together and deliberate how they can speed up the process,” the President said. Kikwete said plans were underway to construct a railway line that would connect Tanzania with Rwanda. He invited Burundi to join the project. (The Guardian, Dar es Salaam)

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