Burundi boycotts Comesa summit in Zambia

The Burundian government has boycotted the 20th summit of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) that kicked off Wednesday in the Zambian capital Lusaka, calling it “illegal”, Burundian media reported Wednesday.

The Comesa summit was relocated to Lusaka from Burundian capital Bujumbura without sound reasons, Radio Isanganiro Wednesday quoted Alain Diomede Nzeyimana, deputy-spokesman of the Burundian president, as saying.

“The relocation should have been decided by three presidents of Burundi, Ethiopia and Madagascar, members of the Bureau of the Comesa heads of state summit, but it had not been the case,” he said.

Nzeyimana underlined that participants in the two-day summit went to Lusaka for their “personal” interests as the Comesa gets over 50 percent of its funding from the European Union (EU).

The Burundian government has written to the Comesa secretariat, requesting a refund of the money used for preparing to host the summit and compensation, he said.

Burundi will “not acknowledge” conclusions and resolutions from the Lusaka summit, he added.

In May, Comesa secretariat decided to relocate its 20th summit that had been planned to take place in Burundi earlier in June.

The Burundian government said the decision to relocate the venue of the Comesa summit was a “lack of respect” to a sovereign state.

The Comesa secretariat later relocated the summit to Lusaka, where its headquartered.

Comesa is the largest regional economic organization in Africa, with 19 member states and a population of about 390 million. It has a free trade area and launched a customs union in 2009.

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