Belgium calls on Burundi parties to renounce violence

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Belgium's Foreign Minister Steven Vanackere on Wednesday called on political parties in its former central African colony Burundi to renounce violence.

"Minister Steven Vanackere warns against resorting to violence as a means of political expression. This would be unacceptable for the international community," said a statement received by AFP in Bujumbura.

Vanackere invited "all Burundi's political parties to firmly condemn all forms of violence and renounce them."

The warning comes amid escalating violence since the withdrawal from the electoral process of the main opposition parties, including the former rebels from the National Liberation Forces (FNL).

Some 30 people have been killed in the past two weeks, mainly in the west of the country, in attacks attributed to "unidentified bandits". But the wave of killings would nevertheless seem to confirm persistant rumours of the presence of new pockets of rebels in this country emerging from 13 years of civil war.

Belgium remains the biggest bilateral donor to Burundi, which ranks among the world's poorest countries.

© 2010 AFP

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