Burundi President Evariste Ndayishimiye has vowed Gitega will not have bilateral ties with a “hypocritical state” seeking to destabilise his country, Chimp Corps report.
The newly-elected president spoke Thursday at a public event in Kirundo Province during the tour of the northern part of Burundi.
Addressing elected and administrative managers, Ndayishimiye cautioned:
“Burundi will not have relations with a hypocrical state which takes refugees hostage and which provides sanctuary to criminals instead of extraditing them to face trial in their home country.”
Ndayishimiye, who was inaugurated as President in June 2020 after the death of his predecessor Pierre Nkurunziza, did not mention the “hypocritical state.”
However, his statement was seen as a veiled warning to Rwanda which Gitega accuses of helping rebels to destabilise Burundi.
Burundi faults Rwandan President Paul Kagame of planning a failed coup in 2015 against Nkurunziza.
Gitega says Kigali has been training and arming Burundian dissidents and refugees who fled Burundi during the 2015 political crisis.
On the other hand, Kigali blames Gitega of helping Rwandan rebels operating in the Democratic Republic of Congo to attack Rwanda.
Both countries deny the counter accusations.
Relations between the two countries remain tense.
Ndayishimiye, a battle-hardened war veteran, is keen on protecting Nkurunziza’s legacy of countering Kigali’s alleged interference in Burundi’s internal affairs.
However, President Kagame recently said his government was ready to work with the new leadership in Burundi.
“There is history that led to the bad relations between our two sister countries but we are ready to work with President Évariste Ndayishimiye of Burundi to address those issues,” said Kagame.
Meanwhile, Ndayishimiye welcomed a petition from refugees at Camp Mahama to him, saying a warm reception awaits their return to Burundi.
Since April 2015, more than 100,000 people have fled Burundi, some of whom ended up in Mahama camp – east of Rwanda.