The Belgian Minister of Cooperation, Charles Michel o n Thursday lauded the release of a Burundian journalist Alexis Sinduhije from th e Bujumbura prison, describing it as “a positive sign” for the restoration of tru s t towards Burundi.
Speaking at a press conference in Brussels at the end of a one-week visit to Belgium by a high-powered Burundi economic mission, he said the other positive s igns were the integration of the former rebel group, FNL, into the Burundi Natio n al Forces, as well as establishment of the national electoral commission for nex t year’s general elections.
Sinduhije was arrested in November 2008 following the launch of his political pa rty, whose registration he tried in vain to obtain from the Burundi authorities. Besides, the journalist also charged the ruling party of corruption.
Led by Burundi’s second vice-president, Gabriel Ntisezerana, the mission was composed of over 30 Burundi businessmen to establish contacts with their Belgian counterparts to urge them to invest in Burundi, which had not been attracting f o reign investors, because of the protracted political crisis of more than a decad e . No agreement was signed with Belgian economic businessmen at the end of the visi t.
Michel said Belgian technicians were presently working on the renovation of the Bujumbura harbour on Lake Tanganyika, which is choked with wreckage, but was ver y important not only for Burundi but for all the Great Lakes countries.