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US Lifts Sanctions on Burundi

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The U.S. government removed sanctions placed on Burundi after six years.

In 2015, then-president Barack Obama signed an executive order for the sanctions to be placed on the announced East African nation in November and December 2015.

Hundreds of people were killed in a series of protests and a coup attempt after the country’s former president, Pierre Nkurunziza, announced he would run for a third term. Many Burundians called his decision illegal. He won that third term in July.

“President Nkurunziza’s pursuit of a third term in office has precipitated a humanitarian, economic, and security crisis,” Ned Price, spokesman of the National Security Council in Washington, said at the time. “Burundi is on the precipice, but there is a clear path available to Burundi’s leaders to avoid further violence and reach a political solution.”

Nkurunziza remained in power until June 2020. His designated successor, Ndayishimiye, was elected just weeks after his death.

“The United States recognizes the positive reforms pursued by President Ndayishimiye, while continuing to press the Government of Burundi to improve the human rights situation in the country and hold accountable those responsible for violations and abuses,” said Wally Adeyemo, deputy secretary of the US Treasury, which administers sanctions.

Biden’s order stated that the country “has been significantly altered by events of the past year, including the transfer of power following elections in 2020, significantly decreased violence, and President Ndayishimiye’s pursuit of reforms across multiple sectors.”

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