|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
5809th Meeting (AM)
Security Council extends integrated office in burundi until 31 December 2008,
unanimously adopting resolution 1791 (2007)
Welcoming the appointment on 14 November of a Government of National Unity in Burundi and emphasizing the need for the United Nations system and the international community to maintain their support for peace consolidation and long-term development in that country, the Security Council today extended the mandate of the United Nations Integrated Office in Burundi (BINUB) until 31 December 2008.
In the unanimously adopted resolution 1791 (2007), the Council called on the Government of Burundi and the Palipehutu-Forces nationales de libération (FNL) -- the two parties to the September 2006 Comprehensive Ceasefire Agreement -- to refrain from any action that might lead to a resumption of hostilities and to resolve outstanding issues in a spirit of cooperation.
The Council urged the Palipehutu-FNL to return to the Joint Verification and Monitoring Mechanism, established by that Agreement, without delay or preconditions and to immediately release all children associated with the movement.
BINUB was requested to play a robust political role in support of the peace process, in full coordination with regional and international partners. The Burundian Government was encouraged to pursue its efforts regarding peace consolidation challenges, in particular democratic governance and justice and security reform.
The meeting started at 10:12 a.m. and was adjourned at 10:15 a.m.
The full text of resolution 1791 (2007) reads as follows:
“The Security Council,
“Recalling its resolutions and the statements of the President on Burundi, in particular its resolution 1719 (2006),
“Reaffirming its strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and unity of Burundi, and emphasizing the importance of national ownership by Burundi of peacebuilding, security and long-term development,
“Noting the progress made by Burundi towards consolidating peace and stability, as well as the remaining challenges, in particular completing the peace process with the Forces Nationales de Libération (Palipehutu-FNL), consolidating democratically-elected institutions and good governance, and completing the disarmament, demobilization and reinsertion process and the reform of the security sector, including ensuring that the security forces and judicial institutions effectively protect human rights and the rule of law,
“Welcoming the appointment on 14 November 2007 of a government of national unity,
“Emphasizing the need for the United Nations system and the international community to maintain their support for peace consolidation and long-term development in Burundi, and welcoming in this regard the establishment of the “Groupe de coordination des partenaires”,
“Taking note of the briefing of the Chairman of the Burundi configuration of the Peacebuilding Commission on 6 December 2007, welcoming the Peacebuilding Commission’s close engagement on Burundi, including the finalization with the Burundian Government of the Strategic Framework for Peacebuilding and the adoption of the Monitoring and Tracking Mechanism, and looking forward to its implementation in the same spirit of partnership,
“Paying tribute to the facilitation efforts of South Africa, in conjunction with the countries of the Regional Peace Initiative and the African Union, to promote the full implementation of the Comprehensive Ceasefire Agreement signed on 7 September 2006 in Dar-es-Salaam between the Government of Burundi and the Palipehutu-FNL,
“Welcoming the signing, on 2 November 2007, of a framework agreement on the establishment of a Tripartite Steering Committee for National Consultations on Transitional Justice Mechanisms, stressing the importance of an early start of the Committee’s activities, and encouraging the Burundian authorities and the Secretary-General, pursuant to resolution 1606 (2005), to continue to cooperate on this issue,
“Recalling the conclusions of its Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict pertaining to parties in armed conflict in Burundi (S/2007/92), taking note of the report of the Secretary-General on children and armed conflict in Burundi (S/2007/686), calling upon the Government of Burundi and urging all parties, in particular the Palipehutu-FNL, to cooperate with the Working Group with a view to following up on its conclusions, and encouraging United Nations agencies and donors to continue to support these efforts,
“Welcoming BINUB’s policy to promote and protect the rights of women and to take into account gender considerations as set out in its resolution 1325 (2000) as a cross-cutting issue throughout its mandate and to keep the Council informed,
“Having considered the second report (S/2007/682) of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Integrated Office in Burundi (BINUB),
“1. Decides to extend until 31 December 2008 the mandate of BINUB, as set out in resolution 1719;
“2. Commends the authorities and political actors in Burundi for persevering in their dialogue on achieving stability and national reconciliation and to promote social harmony in their country, and encourages them to continue that dialogue;
“3. Urges the Palipehutu-FNL to return to the Joint Verification and Monitoring Mechanism (JVMM) without delay or preconditions and to immediately release all children associated with it, and calls on both parties to the Comprehensive Ceasefire Agreement to refrain from any action that might lead to a resumption of hostilities and to resolve outstanding issues in a spirit of cooperation including through agreeing on a road map of sequenced steps and clear time frames for the successful implementation of the Comprehensive Ceasefire Agreement and conclusion of the final phase of the peace process;
“4. Encourages the South African Facilitation, the Regional Peace Initiative, the African Union and other international partners to reinforce efforts in support of the early conclusion of the peace process between the Government of Burundi and Palipehutu-FNL, and requests the Secretary-General, including through BINUB, to play a robust political role in support of the peace process, in full coordination with regional and international partners;
“5. Encourages BINUB and the Facilitation to expedite their consultations on a common approach to deal with the issue of alleged FNL dissidents, with appropriate international support;
“6. Encourages the Burundian Government to pursue its efforts regarding peace consolidation challenges, in particular democratic governance and justice and security reforms;
“7. Expresses its deep concern at the continuing human rights violations, including sexual and gender-based violence, and urges the Government to diligently investigate all such reports and take the necessary steps to prevent further violations and to ensure that those responsible are brought to justice;
“8. Requests the Secretary-General to continue to report regularly to the Council on the implementation of the mandate of BINUB and the progress regarding the benchmarks contained in the addendum to his report dated 21 June 2006 (S/2006/429/Add.1), and to keep the Council informed of the progress towards the eventual transition from the integrated office to a primarily development-focused engagement;
“9. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.”
As the Security Council considered the situation in Burundi, it had before it the Secretary-General’s report on the United Nations Integrated Office there (BINUB) (document S/2007/682), which provides an update on major developments since the previous report (document S/2007/287 of 27 May) highlights progress achieved and the remaining peace consolidation challenges and contains the Secretary-General’s recommendation that BINUB’s mandate be extended until 31 December 2008.
According to the report, the political situation deteriorated considerably with increased internal divisions within the ruling party, serious setbacks on the implementation of the comprehensive ceasefire agreement signed by the Government of Burundi and the Palipehutu-Force nationales de liberation (FNL) in September 2006, the continued detention of the ruling party’s former chairman and opposition parties boycotting the work of the Parliament. The stalemate came to an end, however, when a Government of National Unity was appointed on 14 November, including posts allotted to the opposition.
BINUB remained in close contact with national actors and provided good offices to try to resolve the political crisis. Meetings with political parties and civil society were also organized to encourage broad-based national action for dialogue. Despite some challenges, relations between the Government and the national media continued to improve.
According to the report, the peace process suffered serious setbacks, the comprehensive ceasefire agreement has not been successfully implemented and none of the benchmarks outlined by the Secretary-General have been met. There have also been sporadic armed clashes between the National Defence Forces (NDF) and FNL. The FNL delegation left the Joint Verification and Monitoring Mechanism in July. In August, some 2,500 alleged dissidents from the FNL, dissatisfied with the leadership’s refusal to rejoin the peace process, broke away and requested demobilization or integration into the security forces.
In the meantime, the report continues, the South African Facilitation and the regional technical team met in Pretoria on 26 September. Following that meeting, the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania set an ultimatum for the FNL leadership based in that country to rejoin the process. The South African Facilitator also established a Bujumbura-based political directorate. On 20 October, the South African Facilitation reconvened the Joint Verification and Monitoring Mechanism to address the question of the alleged FNL dissidents, in which the FNL did not participate.
Burundi also requested urgent humanitarian support for the alleged FNL dissidents. Since those dissidents were armed, however, they could not be supported as a humanitarian case. They were also not seen as verified FNL combatants. The South African Facilitation has provided basic provisions on a temporary basis.
The Peacebuilding Commission has continued to follow the situation in Burundi closely and a Strategic Framework for Peacebuilding has been developed. That Framework establishes eight peacebuilding priorities. A monitoring and tracking mechanism for the Framework is being elaborated. On 16 November, the Joint Peacebuilding Steering Committee, comprising representatives of the Government, civil society, BINUB and national and international partners, approved 12 projects for a total amount of $29 million, of the $356 million awarded to Burundi from the Peacebuilding Fund.
The report lists challenges to the peace consolidation: democratic governance; security sector reform; small arms; human rights; justice sector reform; transitional justice; the humanitarian situation; refugee returns and community recovery; and the economic situation. The Secretary-General observes that the political crises and institutional paralysis, along with the blockage in the peace process, underscores the fragility of the situation and the continued need for vigilance.
The Secretary-General notes that the Government’s highest priority should be to successfully conclude the last phase of the peace process. There is an urgent need for the resumption and early implementation of the comprehensive ceasefire agreement, as the Secretary-General is very concerned about the humanitarian and security consequences of a prolonged stalemate. Expressing confidence in the South African Facilitation and the Regional Peace Initiative, the Secretary-General observes that the continued support and strong engagement of regional and international partners will be crucial for the successful conclusion of the process by 31 December, as stipulated by the African Union. He encourages the parties on a road map with clear time frames for the successful implementation of the agreement, and the Council and the African Union to explore ways to support the process.
In view of the persisting peace consolidation challenges, the role of BINUB remains critical, the Secretary-General states and, therefore, recommends that the Council extend the mandate for an additional 12 months. The Secretary-General feels that BINUB should play a more robust role in support of the peace process between the Government and FNL, in full coordination with regional and international partners. BINUB should also continue to provide political and technical support to help national actors address the root causes of the conflict, prevent a relapse into conflict and create an environment conducive to recovery and development.
* *** *For information media • not an official record