Burundi will have to wait longer to join the Southern African Development Community (SADC) after a ministerial meeting ruled against immediate admission of the country to the 15-member regional bloc.
Tanzania’s Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation Minister Augustine Mahiga said Burundi’s application was assessed by the Inter-State Politics and Diplomacy Committee of SADC’s Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation, which convened in Dar es Salaam on February 24, 2017.
Mr Mahiga said Burundi, currently locked in a political turmoil, had been directed to put its house in order first before its request could be considered.
However, President Pierre Nkurunziza’s government last week once again refused to attend peace talks to negotiate with the main umbrella opposition movement, the National Council for the Restoration of Arusha Agreement and Rule of Law (CNARED) — which is exiled in Brussels. The talks are mediated by former Tanzania President Benjamin Mkapa.
Should Burundi join Tanzania as a member of the SADC, the move could complicate the direction the East Africa Community takes for the remaining phases of integration.