The Security Council this afternoon declared its readiness to consider banning the supply of all arms and related matériel to Burundi and imposing restrictions and other measures against those leaders who continued to encourage violence, contingent on the findings of a full report on the situation which the Secretary-General was requested to submit by 20 February.
By unanimously adopting resolution 1040 (1996), the Council also declared its readiness to consider what other steps might need to be taken in response to the situation in Burundi.
The Council welcomed the sending by the Secretary-General of a technical security mission to Burundi to examine ways to improve existing security arrangements for United Nations personnel and premises and the protection of humanitarian operations.
Stressing the importance it attached to the intensification of efforts by the international community to avert a further worsening of the situation, the Council also requested the Secretary-General, in consultation with the Organization of African Unity (OAU) and with Member States concerned, to consider what further preventive steps might be necessary in order to avoid a further deterioration of the situation and to develop contingency plans as appropriate.
Also by the resolution, the Council demanded that all concerned exercise restraint and refrain from acts of violence, and called on them to participate in a positive spirit and to support the efforts of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and others seeking to facilitate a political dialogue to promote national reconciliation, democracy, security and the rule of law in Burundi. Member States and others concerned were invited to cooperate in the identification of radio stations which invited hatred and acts of violence in Burundi.
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The representative of Burundi said that it would be contradictory to threaten an arms embargo while the Government was engaging in superhuman efforts to restore security. To penalize the Government for its determination to prevent outlaws from causing harm was to put the situation on its head and further traumatize those who supported peace. Stating that there was a difference between the situations in Burundi and Rwanda, he said that in Burundi, the Government had acted to thwart the perpetrators of genocide. In Rwanda, he said, the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR) had not only witnessed the genocide but had hastened to pack up and leave.
Statements were also made by the representatives of Zaire, Italy, (on behalf of the European Union), Botswana, Egypt, Indonesia, China, Honduras, Republic of Korea, Poland, Guinea-Bissau, United Sates, Germany, Russian Federation, France and the United Kingdom.
The meeting, which was called to order at 3:53 p.m., was adjourned at 5:36 p.m.
The Security Council met this afternoon to take up the situation in Burundi.
In a letter dated 16 January to the President of the Council (document S/1996/36), the Secretary-General says it is imperative for the international community to launch a major initiative to prevent another tragedy in the subregion, as well as to promote a dialogue embracing all the elements of the political spectrum in Burundi. He states that he has instructed his Special Representative for Burundi to explore urgently with the country's leaders how such a dialogue might be established, possibly under United Nations auspices.
The Secretary-General based his conclusions on reports of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Sadako Ogata, who met with high government authorities in Burundi from 7 to 8 January to discuss steps to defuse the situation and enable international organizations to function effectively. Prior to her trip, there had been a number of attacks against United Nations and non-governmental organization staff working in Burundi. Humanitarian assistance had come to a virtual halt in large parts of the country. Many believed the attacks were planned to force expatriate personnel to leave certain areas and to remove potential witnesses.
The High Commissioner has reported that the continuation of humanitarian aid is essential, and to suspend it could further destabilize the entire Great Lakes region. She has, thus, recommended the urgent dispatch of a technical security mission to examine ways to improve existing security arrangements, including the limited deployment of United Nations guards to protect United Nations personnel and premises. She has also called for an expanded application of the Convention on the Safety of United Nations and Associated Personnel to cover the Organization's activities in Burundi. Further, the High Commissioner calls for closer cooperation between the United Nations and the military observers of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), who might be able to perform liaison functions between the humanitarian community and the security forces of Burundi.
The Prime Minister of Burundi agreed to a proposal to establish a standing mechanism of consultation on security issues between the Government, the United Nations and non-governmental organizations, the letter states. The Secretary-General warns, however, that it would be unrealistic to expect these measures to have any real impact on the fundamental problems of the country. He explains that extremists from the two main ethnic groups are engaged in selective killings, massacres of civilians and the destruction of national economic assets and infrastructure. The already fragile Convention of Government is coming under increasing attack, while the polarization of State institutions, particularly the security forces, is growing.
There are two conflicting views among the leadership of Burundi, with one group supporting an all-out military offensive against some of the armed
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factions. These elements are most opposed to international military intervention or preventive deployment. On the other hand, advocates of a wider political dialogue, including negotiations with the extremist movements, welcome the idea of an external military presence.
The Secretary-General recalls his letter of 29 December 1995 to the Council (document S/1995/1068), in which he refers to the recommendations of the Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights on the situation in Burundi, which range from the consolidation of democratic institutions and the reform of the judicial system to the establishment of a national police force accepted by both communities and the deployment of human rights observers. Also in that letter, he restates his proposal of maintaining in Zaire a military presence capable of intervening rapidly in the event of a sudden deterioration of the situation in Burundi, "a preventive measure that could help to avoid a repetition of the tragic events in Rwanda". That proposal included the deployment of a contingent of guards to protect the humanitarian organization teams, as well as the deployment of human rights observers.
The Council also has for its consideration a letter dated 18 January from the Permanent Representative of Burundi (document S/1996/40), in which he states his Government's opposition to a foreign military presence in the country's immediate vicinity and the "limited deployment of United Nations guards to protect United Nations personnel and premises". While he shares the concern over the persistence and resurgence of human rights violations, he says the problems affecting Burundi are part of "a specific state of affairs". It would have been better to have consulted the Government of Burundi "before such drastic measures were recommended".
A foreign military presence in the immediate vicinity of Burundi would oblige the country's army to prepare to defend it against an intervention concurrently with its present campaign against armed bands. The lettter questions the mission of United Nations troops and states that their presence would be welcomed by the armed bands, which see them as a future ally and hope for a United Nations contingent to rescue them from the national security forces. The Burundi security forces struggle against the armed bands without regard for ethnic affiliation or political ideology. The terrorists take revenge for their losses on innocent people and on economic, social and industrial infrastructures.
The Government and armed forces of Burundi have made no attempt to interfere with the safety, security and freedom of humanitarian organizations. Rather, the security forces are so effective that virtually all international personnel have been protected from danger. If there is any evidence to the contrary, the Government will act to remedy the situation. The threats and ambushes, and the few casualties among the staff of such organizations, are the exclusive work of subversive organizations. To suspend aid and withdraw,
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governmental and non-governmental organizations would be rushing into the traps set by the saboteurs.
The letter recalls a meeting earlier this year in which government officials stressed the need for organizations operating in Burundi to comply strictly with their obligations and to obey scrupulously the security instructions given by the Government, the security forces and the United Nations Coordinator. The Government reiterates its commitment to guarantee the security of all citizens and expatriates. It also confirms support for the International Commission of Inquiry, and urges it to expedite its investigations aimed at identifying those responsible for the assassination of President Melchior Ndadaye, and those responsible for the massacres perpetrated after that tragic event.
The Government calls on the international community to help the people of Burundi settle the nation's problems by themselves; to dismantle the radio station which is inciting ethnic hatred and genocide; and to achieve success in restoring peace, security, stability and economic development. It also calls for assistance in organizing a national debate on the fundamental problems facing the country and in the enhancement of the judicial system so as to ensure that crimes are not committed with impunity.
The Government also asks for increased contributions in the form of technical, financial and material resources likely to promote the improvement of security and domestic order for all citizens and expatriates in Burundi; an increase in humanitarian assistance for victims, displaced persons and refugees, efforts to achieve national reconstruction and economic recovery; the healthy development and consolidation of a free and responsible national press; the eradication of networks for the training, equipping and use of armed, fundamentalist political groups, which have become the most serious impediment to security in Burundi; and the political, diplomatic and moral resources for achieving the ultimate objective of national reconciliation.
Massive intervention in the areas outlined above would offer the best remedy to the causes of the crisis, and would be infinitely less costly than the mobilization of military contingents in Burundi, the letter declares.
On 5 January, the Council issued a statement (document S/PRST/1) by which it condemned those responsible for the daily killings, massacres, torture and arbitrary detentions in Burundi. It stated that such actions must cease immediately and called on all concerned to exercise maximum restraint and to refrain from all acts of violence.
The Council also has before it a draft resolution (document S/1996/56), which reads as follows:
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"The Security Council,
"Recalling the statement by its President of 5 January 1996 (S/PRST/1996/1),
"Having considered the letters of the Secretary-General to the President of the Council dated 29 December 1995 (S/1995/1068) and 16 January 1996 (S/1996/36),
"Deeply concerned at the continued deterioration in the situation in Burundi, and at the threat this poses to the stability of the region as a whole,
"Condemning in the strongest terms those responsible for the increasing violence, including against refugees and international humanitarian personnel,
"Underlining the importance it attaches to the continuation of humanitarian assistance to refugees and displaced persons in Burundi,
"Underlining also the responsibility of the authorities in Burundi for the security of international personnel and of refugees and displaced persons there,
"Welcoming in this context the recent visit of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to Burundi, at the request of the Secretary-General, and plans for the establishment of a standing mechanism of consultation on security issues between the Government of Burundi, the United Nations and non-governmental organization,
"Stressing the paramount importance of, and imperative need for, all concerned in Burundi to pursue dialogue and national reconciliation,
"Stressing the importance it attaches to the continuation and intensification of efforts by the international community to avert a further worsening of the situation in Burundi, and to promote dialogue and national reconciliation there,
"Noting with appreciation the ongoing efforts of the Secretary-General and his staff, the Organization of African Unity and its military observers in Burundi, the European Union, and the facilitators appointed by the Cairo Conference of Heads of State of the Great Lakes Region held on 29 November 1995,
"Reaffirming its support for the Convention of Government of 10 September 1994 (S/1995/190, annex), and for the institutions of Government established in line with it,
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"1. Demands that all concerned in Burundi exercise restraint and refrain from acts of violence;
"2. Expresses its fullest support for the efforts of the Secretary- General and others, in support of the Convention of Government, to facilitate a comprehensive political dialogue with the objective of promoting national reconciliation, democracy, security and the rule of law in Burundi;
"3. Calls upon all concerned in Burundi to participate in a positive spirit and without delay in such dialogue, and to support the efforts of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and others seeking to facilitate such dialogue;
"4. Invites Member States and others concerned to cooperate in the identification and dismantling of radio stations which incite hatred and acts of violence in Burundi;
"5. Requests the Secretary-General, in consultation as appropriate with the Organization of African Unity and with Member States concerned, to consider what further steps of a preventive nature may be necessary in order to avoid the situation deteriorating further, and to develop contingency plans as appropriate;
"6. Welcomes the sending by the Secretary-General of a technical security mission to Burundi to examine ways to improve existing security arrangements for United Nations personnel and premises and the protection of humanitarian operations;
"7. Requests the Secretary-General to keep the Council closely informed, including on the technical security mission he has sent to Burundi, and to submit a full report to the Council by 20 February 1996 on the situation, covering the progress of his efforts to facilitate a comprehensive political dialogue and the actions undertaken pursuant to paragraph 5 above, including contingency planning;
"8. Declares its readiness in the light of that report and of developments in the situation:
"(a) To consider the imposition of measures under the Charter of the United Nations, including a ban on the supply of all arms and related matériel to Burundi and travel restrictions and other measures against those leaders in Burundi who continue to encourage violence; and
"(b) To consider what other steps may need to be taken;
"9. Decides to remain seized of the matter."
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TERENCE NSANZE (Burundi) requested an exact interpretation of what had become paragraph 8 in the draft resolution, which he said led to confusion and to different interpretations.
He said that, for a long time, armed bands had terrorized the suburbs of the capital, but they had been put to flight by government security forces. During the past few weeks, the Burundi army had defeated a trio of armed bands which were now capable of engaging only in sporadic attacks. The population was demanding a military presence. Bandits hidden in refugee camps in the north-east of the country had opened fire on security forces, but they, too, had been put to flight. Those incidents had resulted in an exodus of refugees to the United Republic of Tanzania. An efffort was being made to convince them to return.
For two weeks, he continued, the members of the Government had been travelling through the country to reassure the population and persuade citizens that security had been established throughout the country. During that time, the military had not been confronted by the armed bands. On Sunday, the President of Burundi had stressed the need for cooperation between the public and the forces of order.
He said international opinion had been polarized about the dangers to international humanitarian organizations. During the 28 months of crisis, no United Nations member had lost his or her safety and no United Nations building had been damaged. The seriousness of the crisis was a reality, but it was far from having peaked to an apocalyptic summit. The article by Thomas Friedman in The New York Times was the archetype of the campaign of systematic propaganda against Burundi. Behaving like a new explorer of an unknown land, the author began the article with monstrous falsehoods.
There was a fundamental difference in the situations in Burundi and Rwanda, he continued. In Burundi, the army and the coalition Government, in which national communities and 12 political parties were represented, were united against those who wished to carry out violence. The Government and army of Burundi had acted to thwart the coming to power by those who used genocide. The United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR) had not only witnessed the genocide but had hastened to pack up and leave. The Secretary-General had referred to a difference of opinion regarding the deployment of United Nations personnel in Burundi. Personal observations were different from the official observations of the Government. It would be unjust to demand a political miracle from the country's officials. All countries had had to cope with international conflicts. Within governments, there has never been full unanimity. By comparison, Burundi could be seen as a model. It had been able to retain the essential elements of solidarity. The Government had worked against the warmongers. The Government had sent the same message throughout the country.
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The Government rejected military intervention in Burundi, he went on. The relations between the political parties had been uneasy, but had never reached a point of no return. The political leaders from all groups met, discussed and participated at public and social events in an atmosphere dominated by mutual respect and civility. Some indivduals had been blocking reconciliation, but the majority of the elite had been supporting it. The organization of political dialogue to promote national reconciliation had been achieved.
He said President Mobutu was a virtuoso in national and international matters. An attempt to marginalize a leader of his magnitude was unrealistic and contrary to the tenets of international law. No Government was in a position to demand that another country copy foreign methods.
He said that Burundi advocated the predominance of democracy. To defuse the crisis, it was necessary to strees judicious diplomacy over military action. Miitary action was an admission of diplomatic failure.
LUKABU KHABOUJI N'ZAJI (Zaire) said the Council was doing useful work aimed at defusing the tense situation that prevailed in the Great Lakes region. The situation in Burundi demanded strong medicine from the international community. While that country was facing a complex situation, it could be dealt with separately from those prevailing in the neighbouring States. The current draft resolution applied the concept of preventive diplomacy.
The solutions proposed had all proven insufficient to bring peace to the people of Burundi, he said. Zaire, therefore, strongly supported the current text. It represented a solution which, had it been used before, could have saved thousands of lives. If, in the light of the report to be submitted by the Secretary-General, measures were to be adopted under Chapter VII of the Charter, Zaire would respect them.
The current situation was one in which peace could be tipped in the direction of war, leading to thousands of deaths, he said. It was, therefore, up to the international community to impose peace, by force if necessary.
LORENZO FERRARIN (Italy), speaking on behalf of the European Union, said the Union remained deeply concerned by the continuing violence in Burundi and hoped that a spirit of reconciliation could be renewed in the country. It would continue to support United Nations efforts to resolve the crisis, and welcomed regional efforts, in particular, the action undertaken by the OAU. It also emphasized its willingness to assist in the recovery of Burundi, in particular, by supporting the specific measures to promote peace and reconciliation between the various groups due to be implemented by the Burundi authorities, as provided for in the Convention of Government. Only political
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solutions would put a permanent end to the conflict in that country. It was an absolute priority to search for every available negotiating channel.
He said coordinated action was needed by the international community to relaunch political dialogue and break the cycle of violence and instability. He reiterated support for the idea of an increased and active international presence in Burundi, that was both political and humanitarian. In that regard, the role of personalities from Africa and other regions acting as mediators or facilitators was crucial. In Burundi, moderate forces open to dialogue should be encouraged. The more radical forces should be persuaded that dialogue was the only viable option. They must be warned that the international community was ready to adopt adequate measures, to prevent the country from plunging into chaos and anarchy, and against those individuals who refused peaceful dialogue. A gradual approach to the deepening of the crisis in Burundi was needed. The mediation and facilitation action of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, of the OAU, of the European Union and of political personalities must be supported with every means possible. Those actions could also benefit from increased pressure on the parties.
The draft resolution reflected the need to send a strong warning signal to the protagonists of the crisis, namely, that the Council was ready to examine and eventually impose concrete measures to contain the deterioration of the situation and prevent a further destabilization of the country. He reiterated the need to call for a conference on the Great Lakes region, under the aegis of the United Nations and the OAU, in order to find comprehensive answers to the problems of the entire area. The European Union was in the process of appointing a special envoy for the Great Lakes region in order to increase its presence and contribute even more to the search of peaceful and long-lasting solutions to the many problems affecting the region.
Sir JOHN WESTON (United Kingdom), the President, announced that the Council would now take action on the draft resolution.
Mr. NSANZE (Burundi) asked for clarification regarding paragraph 8 of the draft resolution. Regarding paragraph 8 (a), he said it would be contradictory to threaten an arms embargo while the Government was engaging in superhuman efforts to restore security. To penalize the Government for its determination to prevent outlaws from causing harm was to put the situation on its head and further traumatize those who supported peace. The Council should refrain from such action. It should "not behave as a bogeyman" by engaging in actions which ran counter to the Charter and violated his country's sovereignty. Burundi would not feel obliged to comply with such a measure.
He asked for an interpretation of paragraph 8 (a) concerning a prohibition on the supply of all arms and related materials to Burundi. It
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would be strange to treat a legal Government on the same footing as the perpetrators of the violence which was threatening the peace.
The PRESIDENT said that, as announced, the Council was meeting on the basis of its prior consultations, which had included the representative of Burundi. The Council would, therefore, proceed to take action on the text.
LEGWAILA J.M.J. LEGWAILA (Botswana) said the authorities in Bujumbura increasingly found it difficult to protect the lives of their people. The political leaders and parties accused each other of ethnic cleansing and, by their own admission, the country was in a state of civil war. The political atmosphere had been poisoned by extremist views which threatened to destroy national institutions, and political discourse was characterized by incitement to hatred and violence. Botswana was deeply disturbed by those developments and was convinced that the international community could no longer watch in an impassive manner the human tragedy that was unfolding Burundi. Something needed to be done urgently at the political and diplomatic levels to arrest the situation before it got totally out of control.
He said the draft resolution before the Security Council was direct and unambiguous. It was important that the people of Burundi took the message seriously and begin to create conditions which would enable them to enter into a comprehensive political dialogue without further delay. The international community had long realized that the people of Burundi could not reach political accommodation all by themselves. The United Nations, the OAU, the European Union and the facilitators appointed by the Cairo Conference of Heads of State of the Great Lakes Region stood ready to assist them. The people of Burundi should take the opportunity presented by that international goodwill to promote national healing and reconciliation, democracy and the state of law.
It was important, he said, that the international community, especially OAU member States, should render the Secretary-General all assistance while developing the contingency plan, but on the understanding that the international community would not leave the problem of Burundi to Africa alone. The situation in Burundi threatened regional peace and stability, and it, therefore, called for the urgent attention of the Council. Any action that would be considered appropriate in Burundi would require the provision of substantial financial and logistical resources, which would not be readily available in Africa. He looked forward to the report of the Secretary-General concerning the outcome of his consultations with Member States and the OAU, but the Security Council would not wait for the report before considering developments in Burundi. The Council would be informed, if necessary on a daily basis, about developments in Burundi so that measures envisaged in the draft could be imposed as the situation dictated.
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He went on to say that Botswana attached utmost importance to the security of international personnel who were doing a commendable job in the delivery of humanitarian assistance to the people of Burundi. Any interruption in the delivery of humanitarian assistance could have far- reaching consequences in human lives and population movements. He appealed to the Government of Burundi to cooperate with the Secretary-General's technical security mission.
NABIL A. ELARABY (Egypt) said the adoption of the draft resolution would show that the international community had learned the lessons of the recent past -- that an ounce of prevention was worth a pound of cure. The international community was fully resolved to prevent a repetition of the internal strife, which had adversely affected the national unity of a number of African States and diverted attention from economic development. Egypt had recently hosted a conference on ways of promoting stability in the Great Lakes region.
Stating that Egypt would support the draft resolution, he urged all parties to refrain from violence and engage in a national dialogue. It was hoped that international support for Burundi would continue, along with security guarantees for United Nations personnel.
MAKARIM WIBISONO (Indonesia) said the draft resolution was timely and appropriate if the situation in Burundi was to escape the tragic and horrible fate suffered by Rwanda. In view of the destructive and alarming developments, he supported the need to urgently defuse the situation. Failure to do so would further destabilize the situation, not only in Burundi but also the entire Great Lakes region. He supported the early adoption of the draft resolution in order to avoid a repetition of the tragic events that had occurred in Rwanda, thus, averting an explosion of ethnic violence on a massive scale.
He also supported the call upon all parties and leaders of Burundi to take all necessary steps towards a dialogue in earnest in resolving their difference and to discard notions of violence and brutality. Dialogue between the parties and among all the leaders in Burundi was of paramount importance and should be pursued on an urgent basis. Selective sanctions were not appropriate measures for resolving conflicts such as the one in Burundi, he said. Although presently the behavior of certain individuals could be construed as exacerbating tensions and conflict, a real possibility existed that, at some future time, they might play an important role towards reaching a political solution. Thus, the premature imposition of sanctions would only serve to antagonize the perpetrators even further into creating obstacles to the attainment of peace and reconciliation.
He reiterated that the implementation of the provisions of the Convention of Government constituted a sound basis for promoting political
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dialogue and national debate as a means of fostering national reconciliation, in the country that sought the constructive participation of all segments of the political spectrum. In the final analysis, the responsibility for the attainment of peace and national reconciliation in Burundi rested on the people and leaders of Burundi themselves.
QIN HUASUN (China) said that, since October 1993, the political situation in Burundi had been turbulent and unstable, its security and humanitarian situation further worsening, and there had been an increasing outflow of refugees from the country. That was not only detrimental to economic recovery and reconstruction, but also posed a threat to peace and stability in the region.
The international community, particularly the United Nations, had made untiring efforts for an early settlement of the question of Burundi, he said. The Secretary-General and his Special Representative had been to Bujumbura to work with the parties concerned. The Security Council had dispatched to Burundi two fact-finding missions which had provided firsthand information. The OAU had also offered good offices and mediation and had taken a number of political and diplomatic initiatives.
Despite the efforts made by the international community, the situation in the Great Lakes region remained precarious, he continued. The outflow of refugees from Burundi to its neighbouring countries was continuing. Therefore, the international community, including the United Nations, had the responsibility to continue to do its utmost to help the parties in Burundi to conduct extensive dialogue so as to build mutual trust and achieve national reconciliation. It was hoped that adoption of today's draft resolution would promote dialogue among the parties in Burundi to remove their hatred and differences, thus, laying the foundation for national reconciliation. China would vote in favour of the draft.
The Chinese Government and people deeply sympathized with the people of Burundi in their sufferings, he said. China had taken an active part in the United Nations efforts on the question of Burundi and had provided material assistance within its capacity through bilateral channels. Nevertheless, the final settlement of the question of Burundi must rest with the people of Burundi themselves. He, therefore, urged the parties to begin a broad-based dialogue as soon as possible and to implement in earnest the relevant resolutions of the Council, so as to create conditions for national reconciliation at an early date.
GERARDO MARTINEZ BLANCO (Honduras) said the central aspect of the problem remained the mistrust between the Hutu and Tutsi groups. There should be a broad-based dialogue that involved all sectors prepared to discuss the situation. The commitment and participation of the international community
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was essential for a general framework of reconciliation. He recognized the efforts of the OAU and the facilitators.
He said there must be an end to impunity. Strengthening the judicial system was an imperative need. In addition, domestic order needed to be strengthened. There needed to be training in the respect for human rights. The international community must contribute to creating machinery designed to build confidence. All efforts made to end the crisis should enjoy the support of the international community, as well as the necessary resources.
The peace and stability of Burundi were the peace and security of the whole Great Lakes region, he continued. No effort must be spared to promote dialogue and reconciliation. He regretted the treatment reserved for the international humanitarian personnel in that country. Humanitarian aid was essential to tend to the needs of the refugees and the victims of the turbulence in the region. He could not conceive of suspending such assistance. He appealed to the authorities of Burundi to cooperate with the technical mission sent by the Secretary-General, and appealed to all parties to work in a constructive spirit in a broad political dialogue.
PARK SOO GIL (Republic of Korea) said it appeared that Burundi was moving towards an extremely dangerous situation. The proportions of violence reportedly engulfing Burundi were a reminder of what happened earlier in Rwanda. The capability of the Burundi people and leadership for self- government was being tested.
The latest developments in Burundi were a matter of serious concern to the international community, he said. The Republic of Korea condemned those responsible for the violence and strongly urged all concerned in Burundi to desist immediately from acts of violence. The OAU's military presence on the ground had made a significant contribution to deterring a broader tragedy in Burundi to date.
The dismal situation in Burundi was of the Burundi leaders' own making, he said. Burundi's leaders, in particular, those extremist elements which incited violence, were ultimately responsible for the consequences. Nevertheless, in view of the far-reaching implications for the stability of the entire Great Lakes region, the international community could not stand idly by. It had a moral responsibility to help Burundi's people and leaders to restore peace and stability in the country. It was time for the Security Council to act.
There were three broad objectives the Council should try to accomplish, he said. First, it must demonstrate the firm resolve of the international community not to tolerate any further deterioration of the situation and to send a clear warning to those who encouraged violence of the possible consequences of underestimating that determination.
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Secondly, the Council should ensure the security of the international humanitarian personnel on the ground, so that relief efforts might continue unhindered, he said. His country welcomed the Secretary-General's timely action of dispatching a technical security mission to Burundi to examine ways of improving existing security arrangements. It also emphasized the importance of closer cooperation between the United Nations and the military observers of the OAU. The Council should also address the fundamental causes of the crisis by promoting dialogue and national reconciliation across the whole political spectrum in Burundi. While commending the ongoing efforts of the Secretary-General and his staff to that end, his country encouraged them to work closely with the OAU and to build upon the endeavours undertaken in the regional and subregional context.
It must be borne in mind that the initiatives of the international community could not replace the efforts of Burundi's leaders towards genuine national reconciliation, he said. All the international community could do was encourage and facilitate dialogue. Progress would depend, ultimately, upon the political will of the parties to make peace and come to terms with one another. It was of paramount importance that all concerned in Burundi pursue dialogue and national reconciliation.
ZBIGNIEW M. WLOSOWICZ (Poland) said the state of internal affairs in Burundi had to improve or else it might be too late. It was very discouraging indeed that the observations made by the Council's mission to Burundi one year ago were still valid and that new negative factors emerged. It was deplorable that the majority of the population was suffering because of political rivalries. It was beyond comprehension that violence against aid groups in Burundi had increased. Such acts of violence affected the most vulnerable ones -- children and women -- and discouraged further humanitarian initiatives.
The value of dialogue could not possibly be overestimated, he said. Time was running out. The determination of the international community should not be allowed to fade away -- millions of lives were at stake. It was encouraging to see the cooperation among the countries of the region which were vitally interested in achieving peace in Burundi and stability in the whole area. There were many examples of decisive, unanimous and effective cooperation among African States. His Government, therefore, attached a lot of hope to that way of looking for a solution and welcomed the European Union's decision to appoint a special envoy to the region. Cooperation was the solution -- cooperation both among political groups in Burundi and with the international community, which was desperately trying to help.
MARIO LOPES DA ROSA (Guinea Bissau) said he welcomed the Convention of Government which constituted an institutional framework for national reconciliation. He called upon all parties to refrain from any attempt that could undermine the process of national reconciliation.
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He emphasized the importance of the continued delivery of humanitarian aid. Without any guarantee of security, the agencies of the United Nations and the non-governmental organizations could not fulfil their missions in that country. He would vote in favour of the draft.
The Council unanimously adopted the draft resolution as Security Council resolution 1040 (1996).
MADELEINE K. ALBRIGHT (United States) said the Security Council was sending a clear message to all the people of Burundi: "The violence must stop".
In a letter to Burundian President Sylvestre Ntibantunganya, the United States President, William Clinton, called on all Burundians to reject extremism and resolve their differences peacefully. The United States would not support, recognize, or provide assistance to any government that came to power by force in Burundi. Indeed, the United States would lead an effort to isolate such a regime.
She said escalating violence in Burundi had pitted the Tutsi minority against the Hutu majority, resulting in widespread human rights abuses. According to the Commission on Human Rights Special Rapporteur, "a smouldering civil war is spreading further and further in Burundi", giving rise to "an increasingly marked genocidal trend". Aid workers feared for their lives in Burundi. Security for humanitarian workers must be increased or they would have to leave the country. The United States called on the Government of Burundi to guarantee the safety of aid workers.
The United States deplored the continuing instability and violence in Burundi, she said. The United States, along with other donor countries, was seeking ways to defuse tensions in that country. The United States urged the leaders of Burundi to isolate the extremists and seek a lasting peace. Ultimately, it was the people of Burundi who had it in their hands to prevent their country from falling into the abyss. It was up to Burundians to ensure that Burundi did not commit national suicide.
TONO EITEL (Germany) said his Government was concerned about the situation in Burundi. There was reason to fear that there might be a dramatic escalation. The resolution just adopted gave a clear and strong signal to those who were encouraging ethnic violence in that country. As a first step to calm the situation, the political actors in Burundi would have to engage in a comprehensive dialogue. No important element of the political spectrum should be left out in order not to endanger such a process. Such a dialogue should prepare the ground for establishing the rule of law, peace, security and democracy. At the same time, all parties were called upon to immediately refrain from all acts of violence. The international community would not tolerate any further deterioration.
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He said his country fully supported the initiatives taken by the Secretary-General, the OAU and also by the European Union to bring about the conditions necessary for a political dialogue in Burundi. It would do all it could to support them in their consultations with the political actors in Burundi. Those who continued to encourage ethnic violence in Burundi or refused to enter into a comprehensive dialogue would have to face the sanctions of the international community. In that context, he supported the call to cooperate in the identification and dismantling of radio stations that invited hatred and acts of violence in Burundi.
His Government stood ready to consider the proposals the Secretary- General would make and, if necessary, to consider the imposition of measures under the Charter of the United Nations.
ANDREI V. SHKOURKO (Russian Federation) said Burundi was becoming bogged down in a quagmire of violence which could lead to a bloody war. The dramatic situation developing there required agreed-upon measures by the international community to prevent a further escalation of violence and to lead the parties to dialogue aimed at national reconciliation. An authoritative role should be played by the African countries and by the OAU's peace-keeping machinery, with United Nations support.
Today's resolution gave a clear signal that the international community would not ignore the actions of extremists in Burundi, who were pushing their country towards national suicide, he said. If they continued to block the peace process, the Council would have to apply measures of a preventive nature. He appealed to those parties to end the violence and to engage in negotiations. The international community would lend its support to such efforts.
HERVE LADSOUS (France) said the Convention of Government was the cornerstone to institutional and political balance in Burundi. The evidence of violence, violations of democratic processes and of the rule of law could not leave him indifferent. He called on all citizens to renounce violence and to cooperate with the Secretary-General. He paid tribute to the efforts of the OAU.
He said the European Union had embarked on intensive diplomatic efforts. The Council was also ready to envision any possible preventive measures. He awaited with interest the conclusion of the technical mission sent to Burundi by the Secretary-General. The request for information in no way prejudged the measures the Council would take. If it considered the adoption of measures against those who continued the violence, that was out of concern for assisting the country in overcoming the crisis it was experiencing. All methods must be used so that the country would return to democratic rule and the rule of law.
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There was a need in the near future to convene a conference on peace and security to settle the entire set of problems in the region.
Sir JOHN WESTON (United Kingdom,) Council President, speaking in his national capacity, said the events which had inspired today's resolution were a matter of grave concern to the British Government. As the text made clear, a lasting and durable solution to the situation in Burundi could only be found through a comprehensive political dialogue. The United Kingdom reaffirmed its support for the Government of Burundi in its efforts to sustain the principles of the Convention of Government, which set the framework within which the parties should work together to promote stability and the rule of law in that country.
The international community was rightly focusing its efforts on facilitating such dialogue and on preventive action designed to avert a further worsening of the situation, he continued. Those in the region should play an active part in addressing the problem. He paid particular tribute to those neighbouring Governments which had offered sanctuary to persons fleeing the violence.
Since the tragic events of 1993, a climate of insecurity and fear had prevailed in Burundi, perpetuated by those who used undemocratic means to undermine the institutions of government, he said. In adopting today's resolution, the Council was sending a clear message that it condemned those responsible for the daily killings, massacres, torture and arbitrary detentions in Burundi.
He said it was particularly abhorrent that violence was directed against those that were least able to protect themselves: the refugees and the displaced persons in Burundi, and those who sought to ensure the continued delivery of humanitarian relief. Such actions must stop. The United Kingdom welcomed the sending of a technical security mission to Burundi to examine ways of improving security arrangements so that humanitarian operations could continue.
Today's resolution made clear the Council's readiness to take measures against those who sought to determine Burundi's future by violence, he said. The message to them was clear. States, particularly those bordering Burundi, could help by preventing activity on their territory by extremist groups seeking to incite violence in Burundi. That was particularly true in the case of the so-called "hate radio" stations.
The resolution also made clear that the international community was intensifying its efforts to avert a further worsening of the situation in Burundi, he went on. It must not be unprepared for the possibility of a further worsening of the violence. Further steps of a preventive measure might be necessary if leaders, both within and outside the country, did not
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support the efforts currently under way to achieve national reconciliation and lasting stability in Burundi. The United Kingdom fully supported the request made to the Secretary-General to consider further preventive steps and to develop contingency plans, as appropriate. "In our mind, no option is ruled out."
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