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Morocco gives in to pressure from Burundi and opens an embassy in Bujumbura

After the announcement of the closure of its consulate in Laayoune, which was quickly withdrawn, Burundi finally obtained the opening of a Moroccan embassy in Bujumbura in exchange.

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Morocco is preparing to open an embassy with residence in Burundi «by way of reciprocity which will serve as a direct diplomatic bridge between our two countries», the Burundian Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced in a statement. On the other hand, Bujumbura announced that it is maintaining its «consulate in the city of Laayoune in the Kingdom of Morocco», the Ministry wrote on Twitter.

The decision comes after a diplomatic mission led, on February 8 and 9, by Mohamed Methqal, Ambassador Director General of the Morocco Agency for Internation al Cooperation (AMCI). The diplomat visited the Burundian capital and met with the Burundian Minster of Foreign Affairs Albert Shinigiro.

During their meeting, the Moroccan official expressed the Kingdom’s commitment to «strengthen cooperation with Burundi in the fields of education, tourism, health, agriculture and renewable energies, and to develop economic partnership through the promotion of investments», the Burundian ministry said in a press release.

Keeping Burundi in Morocco's camp

To seal this reunion between Rabat and Bujumbura, Mohamed Methqal sent the Minister of Foreign Affairs an invitation for an official visit to Morocco. As a reminder, on February 28, 2020, Shinigiro's predecessor went to Morocco to chair the opening ceremony of the Burundi consulate in Laayoune alongside his Moroccan counterpart Nasser Bourita.

This trip by the Director General of the International Cooperation Agency has turned the page on tension between the two countries. On January 24, the Burundian Foreign Ministry announced the closure of its consulate in Laayoune before making a U-turn a few hours later. Nevertheless, he demanded from Rabat in an undiplomatic tone «the opening of an embassy of the Kingdom of Morocco in Burundi with residence in Bujumbura».

Since then, the African country has undergone a change. President Pierre Nkurunziza, close to Morocco, died on June 9. It was under his presidency that Bujumbura withdrew its recognition of the «Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic» in October 2010 and initiated a rapprochement with Rabat.

Currently, Burundi is led by General Evariste Ndayishimiy who was Minister of Defense during the Nkurunziza era (2005-2020).

The African country has also decided to close its embassies in Canada and Brazil citing a «rationalization of expenses» of its Foreign service.

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