|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
United Nations mission in Burundi completes peacekeeping mandate
NEW YORK, 20 December -– With the United Nations Operation in Burundi (ONUB) ending its mandate on 31 December 2006, a farewell military parade was organized in the country’s capital Bujumbura, yesterday. The last peacekeeping troops cease work today and will complete their departure in the coming days.
A new United Nations Integrated Office in Burundi (BINUB), authorized by Security Council resolution 1719 earlier this year, will continue the process of peace consolidation and be in charge of coordinating the United Nations system’s activities in Burundi for an initial period of one year.
“The continued engagement and commitment of both the Security Council and the Secretary-General have been crucial to ONUB’s success”, said Ambassador Nureldin Satti, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Burundi, at a press briefing at United Nations Headquarters today. “We were able to carry out our mandate thanks to the support of the Burundian people, our Great Lakes Region neighbours, and the international community.”
Since the arrival of ONUB in 2004, the Central African country has enjoyed its first democratic elections in 12 years, the installation of a national Government and the disarmament and demobilization of nearly 22,000 combatants.
The newly established Peacebuilding Commission will support progress in Burundi, and the Peacebuilding Fund has allocated $25 million to promote good governance, strengthen the rule of law and ensure community recovery.
“ Burundi has come a long way from its darkest days of conflict but there is still a long way to go”, said Carolyn McAskie, Assistant Secretary-General for Peacebuilding Support and former Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Burundi. “It is critical that the international community support the country now as it moves past this fragile post conflict stage towards long-term and sustainable development, based on a broad commitment to peace.”
The BINUB proposed responsibilities include support for demobilization and reintegration of ex-combatants and reform of the security sector in the wake of the 7 September Comprehensive Ceasefire Agreement. They also include the promotion and protection of human rights and measures to end impunity through a truth and reconciliation commission and special tribunal, as well as support for poverty-reduction efforts.
ONUB Force Commander Major General Derrick Mgwebi and several high-ranking officers of the Burundian army were joined at the Bujumbura event by the current Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Youssef Mahmoud, who becomes the Executive Representative of the Secretary-General on 1 January 2007 and will lead BINUB.
* *** *For information media • not an official record