26/09/2001
Press Release
SC/7155



Security Council

4383rd Meeting (PM)


INSTALLATION OF BURUNDI’S TRANSITIONAL GOVERNMENT ON 1 NOVEMBER


`TURNING POINT’ IN PEACE PROCESS SAYS SECURITY COUNCIL


The Security Council this afternoon voiced strong support for the 1 November installation of the transitional government in Burundi.†


In a statement read out by its President, Jean-David Levitte (France), the Council expressed its belief that the creation of a broad-based and inclusive government will mark “a critical turning point” in the Burundi peace process and will encourage donors to provide additional assistance, including honouring the pledges they made during the Paris Donors’ Conference in December 2000.


The Council called on the Burundian parties to reach agreement swiftly on the establishment of a special protection unit entrusted solely with the police function of providing personal security for politicians returning from exile.† It welcomed the convening of a pre-implementation stakeholders meeting in Arusha, United Republic of Tanzania, and urged the international community to provide, on an urgent basis, support for the training and deployment of that special protection unit.


Stating that the installation of a broad-based government on the basis of an internationally sanctioned peace process made armed rebellion an unacceptable means of political expression, the Council called on the Forces for National Liberation (FNL) and the Forces for the Defence of Democracy (FDD), together with the Burundi Government, to strictly observe the rights of the civilian population and other provisions of international humanitarian law.


The Council called on all States, in particular those in the region, to cease all forms of support to the FNL and the FDD, and urged all Member States to encourage the armed groups to join the peace process.† The Council also called on the States of the Regional Initiative to mark the installation of the transitional government by further enhancing their bilateral and regional cooperation with the new Government.†


The meeting, which began at 12:49 p.m., was adjourned at 12:55 p.m.


The statement, which will be issued as document S/PRST/2001/26, reads as follows:


Security Council††††††††††††††††††† - 2 -†††††††††††††††††† Pres Release SC/7155

4383rd Meeting (PM)††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 26 September 2001


The Security Council reaffirms its strong support for the Facilitation of Former President Nelson Mandela, and urges all Burundians of goodwill to join in the cause of peace, democracy and national reconciliation in their country.† It also calls upon all parties to cooperate fully with the Implementation Monitoring Committee.


The Security Council looks forward to and strongly supports the 1 November installation of the transitional government in Burundi.† The Security Council believes that this event, the creation of a broad-based and inclusive government, will mark a critical turning point in the Burundi peace process.† It will also encourage the donors to provide additional assistance, including by honouring fully the pledges they made during the Paris Donors’ Conference in December 2000.


The Security Council calls on the Burundian parties to reach agreement swiftly on the establishment of a special protection unit entrusted solely with the police function of providing personal security for politicians returning from exile.† It welcomes the convening by the Facilitation of a pre-implementation stakeholders meeting in Arusha and urges the international community to provide, on an urgent basis, support for the training and deployment of this special protection unit.


Deeply concerned by the increase of violence recently, the Security Council recalls the urgent need to bring about a negotiated settlement of the conflict and calls upon the Facilitation, the Regional Peace Initiative for Burundi, the Government of Burundi, the signatory parties and the armed groups to devote their full attention to the achievement of a definitive ceasefire.† The Security Council once again calls on the Forces pour la Défense de la Démocratie and Forces Nationales de Libération to suspend hostilities, to continue negotiations and to join the peace process.† The Security Council believes that the installation of a broad-based government on the basis of an internationally sanctioned peace process makes armed rebellion an unacceptable means of political expression.† It calls on the FNL and FDD, together with the Burundi Government, to observe strictly the rights of the civilian population and other provisions of international humanitarian law.


The Security Council calls on all States, in particular those in the region, to cease all forms of support to the FNL and FDD, and urges all Member States to encourage the armed groups to join the peace process.


The Security Council calls on the States of the Regional Initiative to mark the installation of the transitional government by further enhancing their bilateral and regional cooperation with the new government. The Security Council believes that this cooperation is particularly important in the area of regional security and calls on the Governments of Burundi and its neighbouring States to increase their cooperation in this regard.


The Security Council expresses its concern at the deteriorating humanitarian situation and calls on all parties to create the conditions for the voluntary return of refugees, and for the safe and unhindered activities of the humanitarian


relief community.† It also calls upon the donor community to increase their humanitarian assistance to Burundi and to accelerate its delivery.


Background


Long-standing internal conflict in Burundi led, in 1993, to a coup attempt in which the first democratically elected President, Melchior Ndadaye, a Hutu (the first Hutu President), and six ministers were killed.† Fighting between the largely Tutsi army and Hutu rebels followed, resulting in massive internal displacements of people and threatening to further destablize the region.† An estimated 200,000 people died in Burundi’s civil war.


Over the years, the United Nations has been actively involved in a good offices mission in Burundi.† A United Nations Office in Burundi (UNOB) was established in 1993, at the request of the Security Council, to support initiatives aimed at promoting peace and reconciliation in the country.† Despite all efforts by the international community, the peace process made little progress and the security and humanitarian situation continued to deteriorate.


The Facilitator of the Burundi peace process, appointed by African heads of State, is former South African President Nelson Mandela.† In January 2000, the Secretary-General appointed Berhanu Dinka (Ethiopia) as his Special Representative for the Great Lakes region.


Intensive efforts by Mr. Mandela led, on 28 August 2000 in Arusha, United Republic of Tanzania, to the signing of a Peace and Reconciliation Agreement by most of the parties.† Mr. Mandela, supported by the United Nations and by statements from the Security Council, has since made efforts to encourage those Burundi movements and groups that have not signed the Agreement to sign it.


The humanitarian suffering in Burundi has continued unabated.† Hundreds of thousands have died as a result of the conflict between Government and rebel forces, and the number of Burundian refugees has reached 500,000.† More than 800,000 people -– 12 per cent of the population -– are internally displaced.


On 25 July, members of the Council issued a press statement in which they welcomed the announcement of an agreement on the transitional leadership in Burundi.† They expressed the hope that all parties in Burundi would support the agreement and set up the transitional government as scheduled.† They urged the armed groups to cease hostilities immediately and join the peace process already under way.† In a subsequent press statement on 24 August, members of the Council urged the FNL and the FDD to enter into negotiations for a cessation of hostilities without further delay.† They remained deeply concerned about the humanitarian situation and urged all parties to respect international humanitarian law.


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