Burundi wants greater participation of its troops in UN missions

The UN Deputy Secretary General, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, has been visiting Burundi since Monday, October 25, 2021 (Illustrative image).


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The Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations, in charge of peacekeeping issues Jean-Pierre Lacroix, has been in Bujumbura since Monday, October 25.

This is the first visit by a senior UN official to Burundi since 2016. He spoke with the country's top officials, including the Burundian president, on Tuesday.

This was an opportunity for Burundi to insist on greater participation of its troops in peacekeeping missions.


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On the agenda of this visit, it was mainly planned to discuss regional issues.

But it was also the perfect opportunity for all the highest Burundian officials to bring to the table the issue of Burundi's greater participation in UN peace missions.

In fact, since 2020 the United Nations have withdrawn the Gabonese contingent from its mission in the Central African Republic, and in the meantime they have decided to increase the personnel of Minusca by 3,000 additional peacekeepers.

It therefore needs troops.

Since then, the Burundian government, which already has a contingent of 750 men there, has gone out of its way to send a second battalion on this mission.

Gitega is also eyeing the side of Minusma, the UN mission in Mali, if we are to believe a tweet from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday.

A need for foreign exchange

But why Gitega insists on placing additional troops in UN missions? The reason is quite simple: since the 2015 crisis, Burundi has been hit hard by a serious economic crisis. Coffee production, its main export product, is in free fall, and foreign exchange is sorely lacking in this country which is facing numerous shortages. Currently, the approximately 4,000 soldiers engaged in Amisom (African Union mission in Somalia), in Somalia, and those who are Minusca, peace missions have become the country's primary source of foreign exchange. They gross more than $ 20 million a month. Gitega is now doing everything to ensure that they earn more.

The prime minister announced earlier that the issue of a memorandum of understanding on the deployment of an additional unit in the Central African Republic was discussed between Prime Minister Alain-Guillaume Bunyoni and his host.

This was not confirmed by Jean-Pierre Lacroix after his interview with the Burundian authorities.

►Also read: Jean-Pierre Lacroix in Burundi, a first for a UN representative since 2016


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