Uganda Joins Burundi Sanctions

News and Press Release
Originally published
By SUSAN LINNEE Associated Press Writer
NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) -- Uganda suspended air and road links with Burundi on Wednesday, joining Kenya and Tanzania in sanctions to force Burundi's two-week old military regime to return to constitutional rule.

''If everybody hangs together for a month -- including international humanitarian aid agencies -- we think we can take care of this in a month or two,'' Kenyan Foreign Minister Stephen Kalonzo said.

The Ugandan Foreign Ministry in Kampala urged coup leaders in Burundi ''to undertake urgently'' measures aimed at restoring constitutional rule.

East African nations agreed to impose sanctions on tiny Burundi after former ruler Maj. Pierre Buyoya seized power July 25 in a bloodless coup.

The region's leaders believed isolating the regime economically would be more effective than sending in a peacekeeping force, as had been considered, Kalonzo said.

The measures are meant to encourage the Tutsi-led military government to reinstate political parties, reopen Parliament and begin negotiations with Hutu rebels.

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

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

Rwanda signed the July 31 agreement to impose sanctions on Burundi, but has not yet done so. Zaire, Ethiopia and Cameroon also agreed to the sanctions policy, but they are not expected to actually impose any themselves.

The United Nations asked for special permission this week to carry humanitarian aid for Burundi throughout Tanzania. Tanzanian officials earlier turned back four relief trucks loaded with maize meal and beans.

Kalonzo said authorities will consider on a case-by-case basis aid shipments to the 65,000 Rwandan refugees in the country and 705,000 people displaced by ethnic fighting.

Officials fear the Burundi army will seize the aid for its own use.

=A9 Copyright 1996 The Associated Press