Rwanda Plans Burundi Sanctions

News and Press Release
Originally published
By CHRIS TOMLINSON Associated Press Writer
KIGALI, Rwanda (AP) -- Rwanda will join other African nations in imposing economic sanctions on Burundi, but said Thursday it will give the central African nation a week to return to constitutional rule before severing air and road links.

Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda have already suspended air traffic and blocked road and water shipments to and from Burundi, where the president was ousted July 25 in a military coup and the parliament and political parties suspended.

Although Ethiopia has not made a formal statement on sanctions, it has cut air links to Burundi. Ethiopian Airlines had two scheduled flights a week to the Burundian capital, Bujumbura.

Rwanda said Thursday it will give Burundi until Aug. 15 before it imposes sanctions.

In Tanzania, thousands of tons of freight were stuck in the port of Dar es Salam, at the Lake Tanganyika port of Kigoma and at the Kabanga border crossing into Burundi, newspaper reports said Thursday.

At the Kabanga border crossing into northeastern Burundi, 40 trailer trucks were reported backed up.

But Tanzanian Foreign Minister Patrick Sumaye told a local radio station that the government has been allowing trucks loaded with humanitarian relief for thousands of refugees and displaced persons to cross into Burundi.

Earlier this year, former Tanzanian President Julius Nyerere mediated talks on the Burundi ethnic violence, in which at least 150,000 people have been killed since October 1993.

Leaders of East African nations believe isolating the regime economically will be more effective than sending in a peacekeeping force, as had been considered, Kenyan Foreign Minister Stephen Kalonzo said.

Most of tiny Burundi's coffee exports -- its main source of hard currency -- and its fuel imports travel overland via Dar es Salaam. The Kenyan port of Mombasa is the second major port for Burundi.

A coffee auction scheduled for Wednesday in Bujumbura was canceled.

The effect of Ugandan sanctions would be more limited because, like Burundi, Uganda is landlocked. Still, any merchandise traveling overland to or from Burundi via Kenya must past through Uganda and Rwanda, Burundi's neighbor to the north.

=A9 Copyright 1996 The Associated Press