28 August 1996

Press Release


Burundi Describes Regional Sanctions as Economic Aggression, Calls for Council Reversal of Sanctions, Reconsideration of Arms Embargo

All the contending parties and factions involved in the Burundian conflict were urged this morning to call for an immediate cease-fire and begin political dialogue that would lead to a comprehensive political settlement, as the Security Council considered the situation in that country.

Various speakers condemned the 25 July coup d'etat, calling it an obstacle to the progress that was being made in a regional search for a comprehensive solution. Others supported the sanctions that had been imposed on Burundi by its neighbours after the 31 July summit meeting of their leaders at Arusha, United Republic of Tanzania. Support was also expressed for the peace efforts of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) and the former President of Tanzania, Julius Nyerere.

History would show that Pierre Buyoya had not only ousted the legitimate government but had also derailed a promising peace process, the representative of Botswana said. The coup was a political illegality that must not be tolerated under any circumstances irrespective of the credentials of the leader of the military regime.

The representative of United Republic of Tanzania said the political maturity displayed during and after the last general elections in Burundi by Mr. Buyoya, who had gracefully handed over power to the victor, had been unceremoniously shattered, giving way to a recalcitrant situation which had left the country fragmented.

The representative of Ireland (on behalf of the European Union) said that political mechanisms must be found to ensure power-sharing that would allay fears and build the confidence to enable the people to live in harmony. The statement was also made on behalf of Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Romania, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.

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According to Chile's representative, an arms embargo should be established and applied to all factions to save the lives of innocent civilians. The Council must act decisively to influence events in a positive direction.

The representative of Belgium said his country would make substantial financial contributions towards reconstruction after the establishment of peace.

Burundi's representative said that the United Nations Charter had been violated by the imposition of sanctions, which he described as economic aggression. The Council must reverse the sanctions imposed on his country by others in the region and reconsider its planned arms embargo. The new regime had begun talks with armed factions within the country. Dialogue had begun on establishing a transitional national assembly composed of the former assembly members and representatives of civil society.

Statements on the situation in Burundi were also made by the representatives of France, Indonesia, Italy, Republic of Korea, Poland, United States, Guinea-Bissau, Honduras, Egypt, United Kingdom, China, Russian Federation and Germany. Also addressing the Council were the representatives of Canada, Australia, South Africa, Uganda, Japan and Ethiopia.

The meeting, called to order at 10:50 a.m., was adjourned at 2:15 p.m.

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Report of Secretary-General

The Secretary-General states, in his report on the situation in Burundi (document S/1996/660), that the international community must brace itself for the possibility of an attempt at genocide in that country. He appeals to States with the necessary military and logistic means to undertake contingency planning for an intervention force to save lives.

Member States' response to the Secretariat's efforts to seek support for intervention in Burundi has not matched the urgency and seriousness of the situation, according to the Secretary-General. Some States have suggested that, with the unwillingness of any of them to lead in deploying a multinational humanitarian intervention force under Chapter VII of the Charter, the Secretariat should examine whether such a force could be deployed by the United Nations itself and financed through assessed contributions. With signs that 50,000 troops would be needed for such a force, the Secretary- General expresses doubts that Member States will provide the troops for and fund such a large operation and whether the Secretariat could manage it. However, the Secretariat has written to about 30 potential troop contributors to assess their reactions and has received five replies, all but one of which are negative.

On the coup d'état of 25 July, the Secretary-General states that it has not made the peace process easier. It will reinforce one side's fears, strengthen extremists on both sides and increase violence. The coup returned Major Pierre Buyoya, a Tutsi, to power, replacing President Sylvestre Ntibantunganya. Major Buyoya has declared that he intends to establish a transitional government and to consider setting up a parliament of transition to allow Burundians to take part in forming new institutions. He urged the international community not to intervene militarily in Burundi. Having announced his search for a Hutu with whom to implement his plans, he named Pascal Firmin Ndimira prime minister on 31 July.

On that day, the second Arusha Summit of regional leaders condemned the coup and imposed economic sanctions on Burundi. In a joint communique contained in an appendix to a 2 August letter from the Permanent Representative of the United Republic of Tanzania addressed to the Secretary- General (document S/1996/620), the leaders asked the new regime to start immediate talks with all parties, return to constitutional order, restore the National Assembly and legalize all political parties. The Secretary-General comments that the leaders' forceful reaction shows their concern at the coup's implications for peace and security in the region. He appeals for the sanctions not to be used as an instrument of punishment of opening negotiations on a political settlement. Attending the Regional Summit were the Presidents of the United Republic of Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda; the Prime Ministers of Ethiopia and Zaire; as well as Minister of External

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Relations of Cameroon, the Secretary-General of the Organization of African Unity and the Facilitator of the Burundi peace talks, former President Julius K. Nyerere of Tanzania.

The sanctions are a cause of concern for the humanitarian community in Burundi, the Secretary-General adds in a review of the humanitarian, economic and human rights situation. He states that the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the World Food Programme (WFP) have one month worth of supplies for about 300,000 people. If a humanitarian corridor cannot be opened within that one-month period, United Nations humanitarian work might be jeopardized. The Organization is trying to pursue humanitarian programmes while respecting the Summit decisions. According to the Secretary- General fears have been expressed that sanctions will further devastate a country where three years of civil wars have not only claimed tens of thousands of lives but also ruined the economy.

Meanwhile, the Secretary-General adds, the Secretariat has been following developments in relation to the Arusha agreement of 25 June and has held meetings with the three African Governments which are ready to commit troops to a force provided for by the agreement: Ethiopia, Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania. The agreement was reached at the Regional Summit of Heads of State and Government in Arusha, United Republic of Tanzania, during which regional leaders welcomed Burundi's request for security assistance and expressed their readiness to respond positively to it. In endorsing the agreement, the Organization of African Unity (OAU) appealed to the Council to provide financial, logistical and other material help to the countries which will be providing the security assistance. With opposition being expressed towards the deployment of such a force, there seems to be strong support in the OAU for more forceful military action if the new Burundi authorities refuse to invite the regional force to deploy. While it seems unlikely that the United Nations could finance a regional force it did not directly control, the Secretariat is ready to accede to any request from regional Governments to pool its planning efforts and resources with theirs.

Reviewing the overall situation, the Secretary-General states that the conflict of attacks by armed Hutu bands and reprisals by the Burundi Army and Tutsi militias is exacerbated by the deeply rooted perception among the two sides that their survival will be threatened by the loss of power. As a result, the dominant Tutsi minority refuses to relinquish effective control, whereas the Hutu majority is set on recovering the power it won in a democratic election in 1993. As the conflict is not susceptible to military solution, political means must be found to share power, allay both sides' fears and build up the confidence to enable them to live in harmony. The 1994 Convention on Governance was such a mechanism but it did not work. Since the two sides cannot presently establish effective political mechanisms themselves, they need outside help. In recent months, outsiders have united in support of the work of former President Nyerere of the United Republic of

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Tanzania, to get all Burundian factions to find ways to create a new political mechanism to succeed the Convention.

The Security Council also had before it a letter from the Secretary- General to the Council President, transmitting the report of the International Commission of Inquiry on the 21 October 1993 assassination of the President of Burundi, Melchior Ndadaye, and the massacres that followed (document S/1996/682). The Commission was established by resolution 1012 (1995) on 28 August 1995 to determine the facts relating to the assassination and the massacres that followed. It was also mandated to recommend measures to bring those responsible to trial, prevent a repetition of such acts, eradicate impunity and promote national reconciliation. Made up of five international jurists, the Commission worked for two periods: 25 October to 20 December 1995 and 7 January to 22 July 1996.

According to its report, the Commission concluded that the murder of Mr. Ndadaye and the National Assembly President had been planned in advance as part of a coup d'etat. The coup had been planned and executed by officers highly placed in the Burundian Army command. But, based on the circumstantial evidence it had received, it could not identify those who should be tried.

On the massacres following the President's murder, the Commission said it had received enough evidence to establish that acts of genocide had been committed against the Tutsi minority for some days starting on 21 October at the instigation and participation of some Hutu Front for Democracy in Burundi (FRODEBU) functionaries and leaders up to the commune level. While it had lacked evidence to determine whether those acts had been planned or ordered by leaders at a higher level, the Commission stated that some highly placed members of the FRODEBU had planned in advance a response to the eventuality of a coup. The responses, which had included the arming of Hutus, the taking of Tutsi adults and youth as hostages, had been communicated in advance to some FRODEBU members in leadership positions down to the level of the communes.

The Commission also found evidence that showed members of the Burundian Army, Gendarmerie and Tutsi civilians had indiscriminately killed Hutu men, women and children. While there was no evidence to show that the repression had been centrally planned or ordered, it was clear that no effort was made by the military at any level of command to prevent, stop or punish such acts. However, it stated that, with the evidence it had gathered, it could not name those who should be tried for those acts.

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NSANZE TERENCE (Burundi) said that the main reason for convening the Council meeting at his country's request was the economic sanctions imposed against Burundi by the countries of the Great Lakes region.

He outlined efforts of the Council, the Secretary-General, OAU and others to help prevent the Rwanda disaster from being repeated in Burundi. Despite the international crusade to prevent the apocalypse the government then in power was unable to deal with the tragedy which was unfolding. A question that had arisen was whether to support a government that was unable to deal with the decimation of the population. The new regime had stepped in to arrest the situation and move the country towards democracy.

He said the regime should have been given time. The new leader had visited President Julius Nyerere, the former President of the United Republic of Tanzania, to encourage him to continue his mediation efforts. He had begun talks with armed factions within the country. Talks were under way to establish a transitional national assembly composed of the former assembly members and civil society. The new assembly would be convened next October. Given the measures taken by the new government to halt the massacres and establish democracy, he wondered about the haste with which sanctions had been imposed.

He also said the Security Council should reconsider its planned arms embargo against his country. Urging the Council to consider a more constructive alternative, he proposed a mission to the area which could help the Council make realistic decisions.

The new regime had called for national dialogue and an end to the killings in the country. No embargo had been imposed on the former government which had refused national dialogue.

Even if countries had had doubts about the new regime negotiations required time, he stressed. The real reason for the punishment had nothing to do with the well being of the people of Burundi. No State had the legal right to stop the movement of merchandise from one State to another. The embargo was "politically laughable" and an intervention in Burundi's internal affairs he quoted a legal expert as saying.

The United Nations Charter had been gravely violated by the imposition of the sanctions, he continued. By the provisions of Article 41 the sanctions against his country could not be justified as Burundi had not committed acts specified in the Article. Article 53 also provided for authorization for sanctions by regional arrangements. Such authorization had not been given against Burundi.

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Burundi's neighbours should have been the first to show brotherly love for its new member. He described the sanctions as economic aggression. The Security Council must exercise its responsibilities in the preservation of international peace and security and ensure the reversal of the measures. The Convention of the Law of the Sea which provided for access to sea by landlocked countries had also been violated.

He said an imminent health crisis was looming because of the shortages of hospital equipment, drugs, etc. The sanctions ran counter to humanitarian principles. Even if international treaties had been violated, the Security Council would have had to institute mechanisms to resolve the problem.

The path chosen by Burundi in welcoming the change of government was not only a means of restoring democracy. Burundi had refrained from interfering in affairs of its neighbours, he concluded.

CONOR MURPHY (Ireland), delivered a statement on behalf of the European Union as well as the following associated countries: Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Romania, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. He said that the Union supported the efforts of the African regional leaders, the OAU and the former President of the United Republic of Tanzania, Julius Nyerere, to help Burundi overcome peacefully its grave crisis. They should continue their search for a political solution to the crisis. The Union had appointed a special envoy for the Great Lakes region, Aldo Ajello, to help in that search.

He said that all steps should be taken to prevent a further loss of lives in the serious situation highlighted by the report of the Secretary- General. It was essential for dialogue to be organized, without delay, bringing together all of the country's political forces. The Union endorsed the Secretary-General's view that the problem in Burundi was not susceptible to a military solution and political mechanisms must be found to ensure the sharing of power in a way that would allay the fears of both sides and build up the confidence needed to enable them to live in harmony. All sides should call for an immediate cease-fire to allow a process of reconciliation to begin. A new relationship, based on trust and confidence, must be established, and the prevailing culture of impunity must be addressed. Each side must find the confidence to compromise enough to reconcile its often conflicting interests.

The Union was ready to support Burundi's recovery efforts, once reconciliation was embarked upon with all the resolve required, he continued. It also attached the utmost importance to a prompt and satisfactory resolution of the situation of those who had sought protection in European Union and other foreign missions in Bujumbura.

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DIRK WOUTERS (Belgium) expressed support for the efforts being made in Africa to seek peace in Burundi and appealed to all parties in the country to cooperate with such efforts. Belgium called for an immediate end to all violence in Burundi. All sides should declare an immediate cease-fire as a first stage for national reconciliation and reconstruction. There should be dialogue between all sides in the country in which the National Assembly and the parties should play a role.

He said that Belgium was committed to a process that would lead to peace. It had made financial and material contributions to the OAU initiatives and those of President Nyerere, and it would make substantial financial contributions towards reconstruction after the establishment of peace.

GEOFFREY M. NKURLU (United Republic of Tanzania) said that sharing a common border with Burundi, his country had, over the years, witnessed the endemic problem there simmer to a cruel and destructive ethnic violence claiming the lives of thousands of innocent men, women and children, coupled with the destruction of property and massive numbers of refugees and displaced people. The situation had not only brought misery, insecurity, instability and a sense of pessimism in the subregion, but also caused ecological and environmental damage. His country had been adversely affected by the conflict, both socially and economically. Thus, the positive developments of July 1993, when Burundi, under a multi-party democracy elected Melchior Ndadaye President, were followed with keen interest, optimism and relief in Tanzania. The Government, and indeed the people of Tanzania, were delighted that at long last there was a permanent solution in the neighbourhood.

With the 1993 brutal assassination of President Ndadaye and the subsequent massacres, only a few months after taking power, he said, the political maturity displayed during and after the general elections by Pierre Buyoya, who gracefully handed over power to the victor, had been unceremoniously shattered once again, giving way to a recalcitrant situation which has left the country fragmented and compounded the problem of mistrust among conflicting parties.

All were aware of the concerted efforts made by former Tanzania President Julius Nyerere to engage the Burundi political parties in dialogue in an endeavour to finding a lasting solution to the problems in the country, he continued. The report of the Secretary-General aptly pointed out that President Nyerere's efforts had been undermined by some factions inside and outside Burundi in spite of the support he enjoyed from President Ntibantunganya, the OAU and the international community at large. It was against this backdrop that the coup d'etat of 25 July had to be condemned in the strongest terms as it had deliberately reversed the democratic process in the country, basically returning Burundi to the state prior to the 1993 elections. Any attempt to condone the coup would send the wrong signal to the

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current regime in Burundi and the international community in general. The international community should send a clear message that, whatever the circumstances, any coup was illegal and, in any case, it was an outmoded and obsolete way of assuming political power.

His delegation expressed its satisfaction and total support of all the decisions taken during the Arusha Regional Summit on 31 July which, among other things, had decided to impose economic sanctions on Burundi and had appealed to the international community to support their decisions. The objectives of the sanctions were aimed at restoring constitutional order and creating conditions for genuine negotiations encompassing all parties to the conflict in accordance with principles and objectives enshrined in the Arusha I Regional Summit.

Underscoring some of the salient decisions of the Arusha Summit, he said the Bujumbura regime should immediately undertake specific measures to return to a constitutional order, including immediate restoration of the National Assembly, and immediate unbanning of political parties. The regime should undertake immediate and unconditional negotiations with all the parties to the conflict, including parties and armed factions inside and outside the country. The framework of those negotiations should be the Mwanza Process reinforced by the Arusha Peace Initiative under the auspices of Mwalimu Nyerere which sought to guarantee security and democracy for all the Burundi people.

He said Tanzania believed that those decisions were the only viable means to assist the people of Burundi to settle their differences amicably. He called upon the Buyoya regime to make a deliberate and genuine move to implement the demands of the Arusha II Summit in total in order to pave the way for peace negotiations to commence. Tanzania also appealed to the international community, especially to the members of the Security Council, to support the regional efforts on sanctions on Burundi which were meant to shape the future prosperity of the people of Burundi.

DAVID KARSGAARD (Canada) said his country deplored the military take over that had contravened the constitution and legal institutions of Burundi. He expressed support for the efforts to bring about dialogue in Burundi by the regional leaders, the OAU and Mr. Nyerere. Canada had asked them to do all they could to solve the problems in the region. Canada supported the views expressed by the Arusha Summit and was pleased that the Council might take further action to ensure the success of their efforts. The killing of civilians by both sides must stop. Sectarian interests must give way to the legitimate interests and concerns of all Burundians.

As part of collective and unanimous support for the efforts of Mr. Nyerere, he said, Canada's Minister for International Cooperation and Minister responsible for La Francophonie had chaired a meeting last June in Geneva involving interested contributors and the Burundian authorities. The purpose

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of the meeting was to help develop the outlines of a transitional economic assistance plan for Burundi to be implemented once peace was restored. The entire international community must join in the firmly expressed will of the leaders of the region to say: "Enough is enough."

RICHARD ROWE (Australia) said his country was seriously concerned about recent developments in Burundi. It feared that unless the parties to the conflict, with the support of the international community, reached a negotiated settlement, the cycle of violence would escalate, causing bloodshed on a horrific scale and further upheaval and human misery throughout Burundi and the Great Lakes region.

He urged all sectors of Burundi's population to engage in constructive dialogue to bring about a peaceful, durable solution to the conflict in Burundi and to achieve, without delay, the restoration of democratic institutions and processes. In particular Australia called upon all sides to exercise restraint to create an environment which allowed for their fears to be put aside, and for the restoration of confidence throughout the community. It commended the efforts of countries in the region to find ways to restore peace and democracy in Burundi.

Unimpeded provision of and access to humanitarian assistance was imperative if the situation in Burundi was to be stabilized, he said. Further human displacement would have serious ramifications for peace and security throughout the Great Lakes region and its prevention must be regarded as a priority by the international community. Should further upheaval lead to an exodus of refugees from Burundi, the international community must be prepared to come to their assistance.

Australia continued to support the Mwanza peace process, facilitated by former Tanzanian President Nyerere, and urged the parties involved to resume negotiations under that process. "While the hurdles are significant, the mediation efforts of Mr. Nyerere must be given every chance to succeed, representing as they do the most realistic opportunity for pursuing dialogue amongst the key players." The momentum towards peace established during the early stages of the Mwanza peace process must not be lost.

If intervention by outside parties was left as the only means to prevent a slide into anarchy and genocide, he said there was an obligation upon members of the United Nations to see that the objectives of such action were clearly defined, and that the means of achieving them sufficient and well- prepared. With that contingency in mind, the Secretary-General must continue, in conjunction with the OAU, to plan for the prevention of another humanitarian disaster, an outcome which the international community was not prepared to countenance.

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He said the Council must not become complacent over Burundi. It was imperative that it not only monitored the situation there but continued its efforts to examine how best to encourage all sides in Burundi to work together for an enduring political settlement.

K.J. JELE (South Africa) said the international community could no longer allow acts of unbridled violence to continue with impunity. Those who committed serious violations of international humanitarian law should be made to realize that they were individually responsible for such violations and would be held accountable.

His Government also agreed with the observation in the Secretary- General's report that the complexities of the Burundian conflict required, in the first instance, political dialogue and solutions, he said. Military intervention should only be considered as a last resort if the situation deteriorated drastically. In that regard, his delegation supported fully the Arusha initiative and the Mwanza peace process of former Tanzanian President Nyerere, which included the imposition of sanctions against the Buyoya regime. It saw sanctions as a means to achieve the political resolution of the conflict and not as an instrument of punishment. Sanctions were the most effective and appropriate means of pressing for a speedy end to the strife in Burundi. Those initiative could only help to save Burundi from further carnage and create conditions conducive to the restoration of legal constitutional institutions. South Africa believed that the resumption of all-inclusive negotiations without preconditions would serve to ensure peace and security for all the people of Burundi.

The momentum gained by sanctions and other efforts of the countries in the Great Lakes region should not be lost, he stressed. The international community must act in unison with the region, by supporting efforts already in place and by ensuring that a process of dialogue aimed at establishing a comprehensive political settlement was achieved. South Africa hoped that the sanctions being applied to Burundi would lead the parties to the negotiating table and that the deployment of a peace-keeping operation or an intervention force under Chapter VII of the Charter would not become a necessity. The international community must act now to end the cycle of violence in Burundi, he added.

PAUL MUKASA-SSALI (Uganda) said Uganda, as well as its sister states in the subregion, unequivocally condemned the "putschist" in Burundi and demanded a speedy return to constitutional governance. Sanctions imposed by them were not meant to punish but rather to encourage the leadership in Bujumbura to urgently undertake measures aimed at restoring constitutional order in the country. The sanctions were also aimed at encouraging all parties to the conflict in Burundi to hold unconditional negotiations within the framework of the Mwanza peace process, reinforced by the Arusha peace initiative under the auspices of former Tanzanian President Nyerere, as a first step towards

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guaranteeing security and democracy for all the people of Burundi. The leadership in Burundi must restore and work with the National Parliament, and lift the ban on, and work with, the various political parties.

He said the unfortunate victims of the conflict in Burundi had often been innocent civilians caught in the middle of the situation. Uganda condemned in the strongest terms the killing of innocent and unarmed civilians and demanded that both parties to the conflict halt immediately the killings and massacres of innocent civilians.

The regional leaders had declared their readiness to cooperate fully with the United Nations to make appropriate contributions towards the adoption of measures aimed at avoiding a catastrophe in Burundi in the event of further deterioration of the situation and to redress tendencies that would aggravate the conflict there. He underscored the importance of closer cooperation and better coordination between the United Nations and the OAU, as well as with countries of the region.

MASAKI KONISHI (Japan) said his country had extended $54 million in the previous fiscal year to mitigate the sufferings of the refugees from Burundi and Rwanda who were in countries such as Zaire. That was implemented through United Nations agencies and non-governmental organizations. It had contributed another $10 million this year to the UNHCR to help those refugees. He expressed support for the African efforts to solve the crisis in Burundi.

The representative said that the Burundian parties should be given incentives to negotiate. The international community should make it clear that a comprehensive political settlement would open the way for cooperation in rebuilding and developing Burundi. Japan supported the holding of a international conference after such a settlement. Its Government would host a symposium next month in Tokyo on the problems of African countries in the wake of political settlements and on how to promote reconstruction and development despite their difficulties. As for the Secretary-General's appeal for a multinational force, Japan could not provide personnel or logistical support. However, it would consider providing funds once the details on such a force were clear.

DURI MOHAMMED (Ethiopia) said the situation in Burundi had continued to deteriorate reaching its present extremely alarming and worrisome stage. Today, more than ever, it had become a matter of serious concern to the international community in general and to Africa in particular. The efforts made at the international, regional and subregional levels to assist the parties to the conflict in Burundi to find a political solution to the problem in their country had not produced the desired result.

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The OAU had been working actively to assist the people of Burundi to regain peace and security. The diplomatic efforts by the OAU and the presence of its military observer mission in Burundi had demonstrated Africa's concern at the escalation and turn of events in that country in the past three years.

He said the laudable peace initiative and mediation launched by the former President of the United Republic of Tanzania, Mwalimu Juluis Nyerere, followed and enforced by the Arusha Regional Summit of 25 June had given rise to a new hope and optimism in the search for political settlement of the crisis in Burundi. The hope and optimism created by the Arusha regional peace initiative and by the efforts of Mr. Nyerere had regrettably been slowed as a result of the military takeover in Burundi. The coup had not only posed a serious challenge to constitutional order and legality in Burundi, but also threatened the peace and security of the country as a whole.

The second Arusha Regional Summit, held on 31 July 1996, had recognized, among other things, that the immediate problem of the current political situation in Burundi was that of illegality, which would lead to the culmination of the peace process and deepen the conflict in the country. In that connection, he said the Summit had called upon the military regime to undertake measures aimed at returning the constitutional order, immediate restoration of the National Assembly and immediate unbanning of political parties in Burundi. To ensure implementation of those demands, the Regional Summit had decided to exert maximum pressure on the military government, including through imposition of economic sanction. The Summit had also called upon the international community to support the efforts and measures taken by the countries of the region. The parties to the conflict had been urged to desist from any further act of violence, and to assume responsibility to return their country to normalcy and peace through a negotiated political settlement.

He said immediate resumption of an all-inclusive and unconditional negotiation and political dialogue among the parties to the conflict in Burundi, in the framework of the Mwanza peace process, was indispensable. The international community should take practical measures to assist in creating the necessary conditions for such a political dialogue and negotiation. He stressed that much remained to be done. Efforts at the international and regional levels should be coordinated and strengthened to achieve the desired common objective of assisting the people of Burundi. In particular, Ethiopia stressed the importance of closer cooperation and coordination between the United Nations and the OAU, as well as with the countries of the region.

MOTHUSI NKGOWE (Botswana) said that the recent coup had completed what the Burundian army had intended since October 1993, and should not be supported. He expressed regret that the coup had not been condemned by all members of the United Nations. History would show that Pierre Buyoya had not only ousted the government but had also derailed a promising peace process.

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The coup had ridiculed the efforts of African leaders to bring about a comprehensive political settlement. The regime should not be given the time to consolidate its power and give itself a mandate.

Botswana supported the States that had taken actions to bring about a political settlement, he continued. "A coup d'etat is an illegal assumption of state power and political illegality must not be tolerated under any circumstances irrespective of the credentials of the leader of the military regime. ... The time of coups and army rule in Africa must be relegated to the dump heap of history and military leaders must not be encouraged to assume power illegally because they are considered benevolent or moderate democrats. They have ample time to practise those attributes in the barracks."

The real reasons why a coup had been staged lay in the composition and structure of the Burundi army and not in the reasons cited in the statement of Burundi's representative, he went on. The army seemed to become paranoid whenever any leader proposed to change that composition or structure. The culture of fear in the army was tearing the country apart. As a result, the people of Burundi were engaged in a brutal tug-of-war in which one section lived in perpetual fear of extermination while the other lived in fear of subjection. And the army had the trust of only one side. Since the people of Burundi could not solve the problem alone, the Mwanza peace process and the Arusha initiative should be given the chance to find an amicable way to allay both sides' fears. The coup had reversed the gains of those efforts. The Burundi army should be aware that it would not have a perpetual monopoly of firepower.

He said that the Security Council should focus on the objective of the regional boycott, which was intended to modify the conduct of those who had seized power. While it had been a difficult decision, it was the only option that had been left to the regional leaders. The Council should act immediately and its meeting should end with a clear statement of principle which should include the following elements: strong support for the neighbouring States' efforts; a demand that all Burundian parties engage in dialogue; an arms embargo on all factions; and the declaration of readiness to impose further measures targeted at those who blocked the peace process.

JUAN SOMAVIA (Chile) expressed concern that the international community had not yet found it time to affirm that genocide was taking place in Burundi, where over 150,000 had died since 1993. Representing some 3 per cent of the population, that would proportionately be about 7.5 million people being killed in the United States. An arms embargo should be established and applied to all factions to save the lives of innocent civilians. Actions were not being sought for moral reasons but out of humanitarian concerns. No one was trying to "cast the first stone"; the world was approaching the problem out of humanitarian concerns. The will to solve the crisis should be shown in the Council.

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He said that the Council must act decisively to influence events in a positive direction. It was a difficult situation with no obvious solutions. But inaction was the worst course that could be taken. The international community should support actions to alleviate the sufferings in the country and to encourage stability in the region. The Council must rise to that challenge.

He condemned the coup and all incitements to violence and expressed complete support for the efforts of the OAU, Mr. Nyerere and for the Arusha decisions of last July. The parties, beginning with the military regime, should show some good faith through unilateral cessation of hostilities and guarantees of humanitarian support. The culture of impunity should be ended and a humanitarian corridor should be established to allow supplies to reach those in need.

The Council should take action on the issue and seek a way of cooperating to support political settlements, he went on. If the parties agreed, a conventional peace-keeping operation might be sent to Burundi to keep a cease-fire and allow dialogue. If the parties do not start dialogue in say 60 days, the United Nations must consider measures against those who frustrated efforts towards a peace process. The regional solution being pursued should be supported. The international community should speak in unison to send only one message to Burundi so that an agreement could be reached. Any Security Council action should support the efforts of Mr. Nyerere.

HERVE LADSOUS (France) said that the Council had condemned the coup in Burundi and asked for the commencement of a dialogue leading to a comprehensive settlement. France supported the efforts of the regional leaders, the OAU and Mr. Nyerere to address the problems in Burundi. It was concerned about the impact of the sanctions on powerless groups; humanitarian agencies should be allowed to help them. A conference on the situation in the region should be held under the aegis of the United Nations and with the concurrence of the OAU.

NUGROHO WISNUMURTI (Indonesia) said the international community was faced with a serious challenge to legitimacy and rule of law as a result of a coup d'etat in Burundi. Indonesia believed that a peaceful solution to the conflict in Burundi could only be attained through negotiations and dialogue among all parties. In view of the danger of the potential for the conflict to spill over to the neighbouring countries, it believed that any further procrastination and ambivalence on the part of the Security Council would encourage the spread of instability in the Great Lakes region. It therefore welcomed the regional and international peace initiatives, particularly the efforts of former President Nyerere, which Indonesia supported.

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The only viable solution was a mechanism for power-sharing, he said. To reach that goal, the international community should send a strong message to those now in control in Bujumbura and take the necessary measure to ensure that they undertook the following: Immediate and unconditional negotiations with all parties inside and outside the country; a return to constitutional order and legality; restoration of the National Assembly; and the end of a ban on all political parties and assure the protection of their members. It was imperative for the international community to assist in the effective organization of all-inclusive negotiations towards reaching a political settlement. The recent visit to New York of the four Burundian Parliamentarians from different political parties underscored the desire of many Burundians to break with the political traditions of the past and begin a dialogue conducive to national reconciliation. Failure to do so would permit the present situation of prevailing insecurity and impunity of violent acts to continue.

Indonesia commended the swift and unified response of the countries of the region against those in power in Burundi. It was essential for the international community to lend their support to those regional initiatives, he said, adding that failure to do so would send the wrong signal to Bujumbura.

He said the international community had a definite role to play in alleviating the risk of a humanitarian catastrophe in Burundi. His delegation supported the establishment of humanitarian corridors which would not only alleviate the economic difficulties due to the sanctions, but might also reduce the risk of further escalation of tensions due to the shortage of basic humanitarian needs. It also supported the development of contingency planning for a rapid humanitarian response in the event of widespread violence or a serious deterioration of the situation in Burundi.

Another role the Security Council could play was to promote transparency and inform the international community of the events in Burundi both past and present. In that regard, it was pleased to note the publication of the results of the international commission of inquiry that investigated the assassination in 1993 of Burundi's first elected President and massacres that followed in which both Tutsi and Hutu were killed. He said those who committed or authorized the commission of serious violations of international humanitarian law were individually responsible for such violations and should be held accountable. Those responsible for crimes against humanity should be brought to justice. The United Nations could also contribute to the edification of an impartial and independent judicial system as it would solve and correct one of the fundamental inequalities and causes of conflict in Burundi, he concluded.

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FRANCESCO PAOLO FULCI (Italy) said the international community was following the developments in Burundi with growing anxiety. Diplomatic activity was intense, involving the direct commitment of special envoys and prominent figures from the African countries -- notably former Tanzanian President Nyerere. It was encouraging that the main facilitators of the process were united in their assessments and objectives. Even as he spoke former President Nyerere was in Rome, where he would receive an award from non-governmental organizations. That attested to the great appreciation with which his work was followed in Italy.

Recent indications on the situation in Burundi, particularly the Secretary-General's report, stressed the extreme fragility of the country's internal situation, he said. Intense fighting along with attacks on the civilian population throughout the country had made the humanitarian situation there highly precarious. An immediate cease-fire must be reached as a matter of priority to fend off the threat of more death, suffering and destruction. A climate of greater mutual confidence must be established. If political dialogue could begin, then Burundi could lay the basis for reconstructing its democratic institutions and re-entering the road towards economic development, without which, in the end, there could be no lasting peace.

Italy was aware of the close ties between the various political, economic and humanitarian problems that characterized the region and of the continued risks of destabilization. In the search for a lasting solution to the crisis, it underlined the need for an approach that was global and had a regional dimension. The presence of more than one-and-a-half million refugees in the region represented a highly destabilizing factor. Their return to their countries of origin in conditions of security and dignity was essential to the restoration of peace.

He went on to say that the international community's support was essential to relaunching the democratic process in Burundi. If the Security Council wished to activate a credible process of national reconciliation, it must express itself clearly on the objectives to be pursued. It was extremely important that a resolution on such a delicate and complex matter be the fruit of a full consensus within the Security Council. Two principles must guide the action of the Council: it should move in such a way as to encourage the parties to proceed in good faith and in good will to the negotiating table, avoiding confrontation; and to alleviate the great suffering of the population.

In the past two years Italy had reserved for Burundi a major share of its bilateral and multilateral aid to the region, he went on. It was the Italian Government's intention to relaunch to the greatest extent possible its humanitarian activities there, and to consider new initiatives aimed at revamping its action towards the African countries.

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PARK SOO GIL (Republic of Korea) said his delegation was disappointed at the inability of Burundian parties to seize the opportunity created through the efforts of Mr. Nyerere and the Arusha I process.

The Republic of Korea supported the decisions of the regional countries at the Arusha II Summit. It also shared their security and political concerns about the region-wide implications of the developments in Burundi. The regional initiative was a manifestation of the division of labour between the United Nations and regional communities. It also marked an historical milestone in the furtherance of the region's commitment to democracy by standing against the unconstitutional overthrow of a government. Now that the regional community had come up with its own action, he said the Security Council had to resume its primary responsibility for maintaining international peace and stability in the Great Lakes region.

He suggested two overriding guidelines for contemplating future actions on the part of the Council. The Council should bear in mind the importance of taking seriously the gravity and volatility of the situation in Burundi. Its action should be oriented to minimize the risk of triggering a chain reaction that may inadvertently lead the situation into a major crisis. At the same time, however, it could not afford to sit idle. It should do its best to make the Burundian parties to refrain from violence and to commit themselves to a negotiated resolution of the conflict. All efforts should be directed to encouraging them to resume, without delay, a process of political dialogue without exception and without any preconditions.

In parallel with those efforts, preparations had to be made for the worst case of contingencies which might come abruptly. His delegation commended the Secretariat's finalization of an emergency operations plan for Burundi aimed at providing the maximum level of emergency humanitarian assistance in the event of a serious escalation of the conflict.

He said the time was ripe for an initiative for the better management of the situation in Burundi, and his delegation wished that today's debate would lead to a package of actions which would best serve the interests of the Burundian people and the international community.

ZBIGNIEW MATUSZEWSKI (Poland) said the time had come for the Burundi leaders to find their way to peace, democracy and security, and urged them to immediately start a meaningful political dialogue. Such a dialogue must address the very roots of the conflict which, as the Secretary-General had rightly observed in his report, was not susceptible to a military solution. All political forces in Burundi and all segments of the society had to be given a seat at the negotiating table. Poland supported the regional leaders, the OAU and former Tanzanian President Nyerere, who had already displayed patience and skills in their efforts to facilitate the search for a political solution in Burundi. It also supported the work of the special representative

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of the United States President and that of the representative of the European Union, and hoped that the parties in Burundi would profit from their assistance.

He urged the leaders in Burundi to declare an immediate cease-fire and to put an end to the continuing violence in the country. Noting that the humanitarian situation in Burundi continued to cause considerable concern, he said the parties to the conflict should be aware of their responsibility for the peoples' lives and well-being.

KARL F. INDERFUTH (United States) said that the leaders of Burundi had not responded positively to the Security Council's call to restore constitutional government, the National Assembly and democracy. The indiscriminate killings on both sides had continued. The United States would support the Arusha objectives of the States in the region in calling on the new regime to undertake immediate and unconditional negotiations with all parties, to return the country to constitutional order and to unban all political parties. It strongly supported the economic sanctions imposed by the Arusha States to achieve those goals. If the sanctions did not work, the Council would consider further action such as an arms embargo or targeted sanctions against faction leaders. All sanctions must be carefully implemented to permit continued humanitarian relief. The Council should be ready to support any genuine opening to peace and dialogue.

Further measures both at the United Nations and in the region must be carefully calibrated to events in Burundi, whose fate was in the hands of its citizens. "We are sending a very strong message to both the present regime and insurgents inside and outside Burundi that the international community will not tolerate genocide and the threat this poses to the peace and security of the Great Lakes region as a whole. All parties must commit themselves to a cessation of hostilities and a dialogue aimed at establishing a lasting cease- fire, an end to killing, and a comprehensive political settlement", he said.

While the United States would continue to place its highest priority to promoting a peaceful solution based on political dialogue, the representative said his Government welcomed the finalization of an emergency operations plan for Burundi which ensured that United Nations agencies could work together to provide a maximum level of assistance should the conflict escalate. The United States had worked closely with the United Nations Secretariat in its two-track approach to military contingency planning, and continued to urge that other Governments should support that effort. The international community must avoid a replay of the horrors that befell Rwanda and be ready to act when the need arose. The Security Council must therefore take further action. To that end the United States would work on a resolution that sends a clear message to the leaders of the Burundian factions: stop the killing now and initiate an immediate dialogue.

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ALFEDO LOPES CABRAL (Guinea-Bissau) said the people of Burundi deserved the serious interest of the Security Council in what was happening in the country. The recent military coup flew in the face of established constitutional order. It was an illegal act which should be rejected and unambiguously condemned. The fragile ethnic and political balance had been disturbed. The conflict did not lend itself to ready-made solutions and mechanisms should be found to resolve the situation.

He said the Council could not accept the use of force to change the political order. The guns must fall silent and give way to dialogue. He appealed to the people of Burundi to set aside their ethnic and political ideologies and to get down to open and constructive dialogue which would be conducive to peace. The resumption of dialogue and negotiations should be encouraged.

The economic sanctions imposed by regional countries might help to speed up the process of change provided it was supported by the international community and did not hurt innocent people, he said. Humanitarian assistance should be continued and assistance for reconstruction assured once peace was restored.

GERARDO MARTINEZ BLANCO (Honduras) said unless constitutional order was restored and political dialogue begun, the conflict in Burundi would continue. He appealed to the parties to created conditions which allowed for national reconciliation.

He said that in the present circumstances the promotion of dialogue would be difficult. He said the support of the Council for regional efforts and those of former Tanzanian President Nyerere were very important. He said the situation in Burundi represented a threat to the peace and security of the Great Lakes region.

He believed that until an end was put to ethnic violence, the possibility of genocide would remain. Contingency planning should continue in case the situation in Burundi deteriorated. The basic thing now was for a return to constitutional order and dialogue which allowed for political consensus.

MAGED A. ABDEL AZIZ (Egypt) said that, taking into account the events in Burundi, it was regrettable that the decisions of Arusha I had not been implemented. The parties had shown that they were not able to agree amongst themselves. Therefore, Egypt supported the initiative of the neighbouring countries aimed at solving the problems in Burundi. Those States were right to take the initiative since they would be the first to be affected by the consequences of a deterioration of the situation in Burundi.

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Egypt also supported the initiatives of the OAU, which had sent an observer mission to Burundi two years ago, he continued. It also supported demands put forward by the neighbouring countries with a view to re- establishing constitutional order. Access by all to humanitarian assistance should be allowed. The neighbouring countries and the international community must show resolve in seeking a comprehensive political settlement. The problems in the area could only be solved successfully when tackled from a wider regional dimension. The international community should facilitate an international conference on Burundi at the appropriate time.

He said that the contingency planning to handle a worsening of the situation should continue and efforts should be made to ensure the safety of those people who had sought refuge in the foreign embassies.

STEPHEN GOMERSALL (United Kingdom) said his country agreed with the Secretary-General's conclusion that the conflict in Burundi was not susceptible to a military solution, and that the international community must continue to focus its efforts on bringing the parties together to end the fighting, restore a legitimate government and achieve lasting national reconciliation in Burundi.

He welcomed and fully supported the initiatives taken at Arusha by the leaders of the States neighbouring Burundi, particularly the mediation efforts of former President Nyerere. He also welcomed the principled approach of the region towards the coup and shared their determination to press for the return of constitutional order and a negotiated settlement to end the long-standing conflict. While the African lead was welcome, the Security Council and the international community also had a vital role to play.

He said the Council now had before it a draft resolution which should be an important vehicle for coordinating the response of the region with that of the wider international community. The United Kingdom supported the economic sanctions adopted at Arusha but shared the Secretary-General's concern about their possible effect on humanitarian supplies and personnel. It was essential that humanitarian agencies be allowed unrestricted access to those in need and be able to operate in conditions of adequate security. He welcomed the decision of the regional leaders to establish a regional coordinating committee in Nairobi, and the assurance that humanitarian supplies would be allowed access. He called on all parties in Burundi to cease attacks on aid workers and to ensure that they operated in secure conditions.

The United Kingdom said a continuing need for the presence of human rights observers in Burundi, and congratulated the team there now, both on what they had achieved so far, and the courage which they had displayed in difficult circumstances, he went on. Burundi's new leader, Major Pierre Buyoya, had made many public promises since 25 July. He had also taken some

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actions with regard to control of the armed forces which were potentially positive. At the same time, it was clear that acts of oppression continued and that there was no national consensus as yet behind his proposal for an extended transnational period before a return to constitutional government. He must respond to the concerns expressed by the regional leaders. The United Kingdom welcomed the fact that he had publicly stated his willingness to enter into dialogue, and that he had met with former President Nyerere. It called similarly on other parties to the conflict to commit themselves to early all- party talks.

All parties must agree now to an immediate cease-fire and enter into serious negotiations, he stated. If a cease-fire was declared, the United Kingdom was willing to provide practical assistance to the regional efforts to assure adequate security for all in Burundi. Once a lasting settlement had been achieved, it was also willing to contribute to international efforts to restore Burundi's economy in support of such a settlement. While it was right to focus on achieving a settlement, contingency planning should continue in case regional and international efforts were not sufficient to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe in Burundi. The United Kingdom was willing to examine ways in which it might contribute to a humanitarian response in the event of a worsening of the situation. While commitments elsewhere meant that it could not provide troops, it was prepared to consider positively other forms of assistance which it might be able to contribute.

He said the responsibility for ending the killing lay with the leaders of Burundi, and the factions outside it. They must act now so that a process of genuine political dialogue could begin. The United Kingdom encouraged those who currently held power in the country to act for their country by seeking agreement with other groups, and by seizing the opportunity which had been presented by the Arusha process to begin the hard, but in the long run inescapable, task of rebuilding a single nation under a constitution which enjoyed the widest possible support.

HE YAFEI (China) said the key to settling the Burundian question lay in national reconciliation, peaceful coexistence and power-sharing. The only way to achieve that objective was for the parties in Burundi to cease all hostilities immediately and enter into dialogue and negotiations unconditionally. China believed that the international community should also take that into consideration in its efforts to settle the question of Burundi. The pressing task for the Council now was to get all Burundian parties to clearly understand that situation, give up the use of force and devote themselves to genuine peaceful negotiations.

China shared the Secretary-General's view that the Burundian question was not susceptible to a military solution and that a political solution should instead be found, he said. There were complicated historical and practical causes for the Burundian question. It was therefore by no means

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easy to settle it once and for all. China, however, believed that the question must and could be thoroughly resolved. The Burundian people, who had already suffered enormously from chaos and conflicts, hoped for stability. A final solution to the Burundian question lay with the Burundian people themselves. China strongly urged their leaders to renounce violence and commit themselves to dialogue and national reconciliation. They should also renounce party conflict and racial hatred. China would support all measures that contributed to peace and stability in Burundi.

He expressed understanding of the efforts made by African countries, particularly Burundi's neighbouring States, for the settlement of the Burundian question. China particularly appreciated the untiring efforts of former President Nyerere of Tanzania in mediating the crisis in Burundi. The Chinese Government had provided assistance within its capability to President Nyerere for his activities to resolve the Burundian question and would continue to support him. It hoped that the Burundian parties would closely cooperate with Mr. Nyerere to bring their country back onto the track of peace, democracy, unity and rejuvenation at an early date.

YURIY V. FEDOTOV (Russian Federation) said that a clear priority should be given to the search for political solutions, with efforts made to end the bloodshed. There should be a dialogue of all political parties and factions inside and outside the country. He expressed support for the efforts of the countries in the area, which also demonstrated the desire of African States to extinguish hotbeds of conflict on their continent. The possibility of letting in humanitarian supplies should be considered in the implementation of the sanctions imposed on Burundi. Sanctions should have clear criteria for their imposition and lifting, clear time-limits and be aimed at extremists. Pressures would yield the desired effects if they were adapted to Burundi's internal political dynamics and used with flexibility. An arms embargo and the freezing of extremist leaders' assets should all be considered to help bring about an end to the violence. Pressure should be accompanied by a clear message that, if the extremist leaders plunged the country into further violence, the international community would respond with appropriate action.

The representative said that the Russian Federation would take part in efforts that would help normalize the situation in Burundi and prevent the spread of the violence beyond that country.

Council President TONO EITEL (Germany), speaking in his capacity as his country's Permanent Representative, said the violence in Burundi must stop. Germany was also concerned about the implications of the country's crisis for peace and security in the already troubled Great Lakes region. It shared the view that the conflict in Burundi was not susceptible to a military solution. A dialogue must be organized without delay to bring together all of Burundi's political forces without exception, including representatives of civil society, to find a negotiated consensus solution to the crisis. Germany

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supported the efforts of the regional leaders, particularly former President Nyerere to facilitate the search for a political solution to the crisis in Burundi. It specifically supported their call on the Bujumbura regime to immediately restore the National Assembly, lift the ban on political parties, and undertake negotiations with all the parties to the conflict. He reiterated the importance Germany attached to the prompt and satisfactory resolution of the situation of those who had sought protection in its and other foreign missions in Bujumbura.

The sanctions imposed by the regional leaders should, as the Secretary-General rightly mentioned, not be seen as an instrument of punishment, but as a means to an end, he went on. On the other hand, they should not be allowed to add to the hardship of the suffering people in Burundi. Germany therefore welcomed the efforts to formulate specific exemptions of the sanctions regime for humanitarian purposes. It also welcomed the recent publication of the final report of the International Commission of Inquiry concerning the assassination of the President of Burundi on 21 October 1993 and the massacres that had followed, and hoped that it could contribute to overcoming the present state of impunity in that country. He also reiterated the importance Germany attached to the renewed deployment of human rights observers, which had so far been funded by the European Commission.

He said his country had in the past significantly contributed to the improvement of the humanitarian situation in Burundi and of the Burundian refugees in the Great Lakes region. It stood ready to further support Burundi's recovery efforts, once the necessary national reconciliation was embarked upon.

Mr. TERENCE (Burundi) expressed his desire to assure the international community through the Security Council that the Burundi regime was ready for dialogue with all sides. That had been stated in a solemn pledge by the new regime. The Secretary- General's report tended to concentrate on the situation that prevailed before the July coup in Burundi. It should have been updated to show an improvement in the conditions, which were far less alarming than the picture painted by a large number of today's speakers who had relied on the report. On Friday, 23 August, the Government had published a declaration calling on the international community, including Amnesty International, to investigate the monstrous allegations of killings that had been made by that organization. The Government would take all steps to prevent further killings and to put an end to the vicious cycle of violence. It also intended to ensure respect for human rights and to protect the safety of all persons in the country.

Referring to the mission of Mr. Nyerere, he said that, even before any outside intervention took place, the new regime had asked Mr. Nyerere to re-activate the talks intended to bring together all sides in the conflict. He assured the international community that the current regime was not being forced to do so; it had originally intended to follow that imperative. Citing Frederich Hegel, the German philosopher, said that history had shown that man learned nothing from history. That quotation applied to some of those who had spoken without taking into consideration the histories of their own nations as well. Burundi would embark on an effective peace process.

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