Biden lifts sanctions from four Burundi officials

The Biden administration has lifted sanctions imposed upon Burundi officials, citing positive political developments in the country.

In 2015, then-President Barack Obama sanctioned four Burundi military and security officials and declared a national emergency as the East African nation was thrown into turmoil.

The State Department at that time said President Pierre Nkurunziza’s pursuit of a third term precipitated a humanitarian, economic and security crisis, and the United States had received multiple reports of targeted killings, arbitrary arrests, torture and political oppression.

President Joe Biden said in an executive order repealing the sanctions on Thursday that the situation in the East African nation has altered following the last year’s death of Nkurunziza and the election of Evariste Ndayishimiye as president.

Biden said violence in the country has significantly decreased and Ndayishimiye’s pursuit of reforms has aided his decision to lift the sanctions, which included asset freezes and visa restriction.

“The United Staes recognizes the positive reforms pursued by President Ndayishimiye, while continuing to press the government of Burundi to improve the human rights situation in the country and hold accountable those responsible for violations and abuses,” Wally Adeyemo, the deputy secretary at the Treasury, said in a statement. “President Biden’s action today demonstrate that … we are committed to the use of economic sanctions in coordination with diplomacy and other tools of statecraft toward a clear and specific objective.”

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