The United States established diplomatic relations with Burundi in 1962, following its independence from a Belgian-administered trusteeship. From 1993 to 2006, the country saw civil war driven by ethnic tensions. The 2000 Arusha Peace and Reconciliation Accords provided a negotiated settlement to the conflict. National elections in 2010 were judged by domestic and international observers to be free and fair. The next national elections are slated for 2015. Political parties are currently discussing reform of the electoral law and process to streamline and simplify the next elections. Democratic consolidation remains critical, as does the need to demonstrate peace dividends to the population.
U.S. Government goals in Burundi, one of the poorest countries in the world, are to help the people of Burundi realize a just and lasting peace based on democratic principles and sustainable economic development. The United States encourages political stability, ongoing democratic reforms, political openness, respect for human rights, and economic development. In the long term, the United States seeks to strengthen the process of internal reconciliation and democratization within all the states of the region to promote a stable, democratic community of nations that will work toward mutual social, economic, and security interests on the African continent. As the situation in Burundi normalizes, the United States seeks to facilitate its integration into regional and international markets, as a means to promote sustainable economic development.