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July 21, 2018

Burundi, Kenya strengthen ties as Nkurunziza seeks stability

Burundi special envoy Ezechiel Nibigira with President Uhuru Kenyatta during their meeting at State House in Nairobi, July 5, 2018. /PSCU
Burundi special envoy Ezechiel Nibigira with President Uhuru Kenyatta during their meeting at State House in Nairobi, July 5, 2018. /PSCU

Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza is focusing on growing relations with East African economies, an envoy said on Thursday, noting he will not vie in 2020.

Special envoy Ezechiel Nibigira told President Uhuru Kenyatta that Nkurunziza wants his country to remain safe and stable and its economy to prosper.

"We are grateful to you and to Kenya for assistance with the peace process," Nibigira, who is Burundi's Foreign Minister, told Uhuru at State House in Nairobi. "The entire country is calmer now."

Uhuru said Kenya wants to strengthen bilateral and regional relations with East African economies for the benefit of residents.

Present at the meeting were Foreign Affairs CS Monica Juma and Head of Public Service Mr Joseph Kinyua.

Burundi decided not to seek re-election when his term ends in 2020, easing fears of fresh violence in the impoverished country.

Nkurunziza had been widely expected to take advantage of recent changes to the constitution to stand for two more terms.

This raised concerns that Burundi could see a repeat of the unrest that erupted after he stood for a third time in 2015.

Last month, voters in the small central African nation approved changes to the constitution that also extended the length of a presidential term from five to seven years.

More on this: Burundi President Nkurunziza promises to step down in 2020

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