9 June 2010

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Secretary-General Praises Burundi’s Important Progress in Consolidating Peace;


Says United Nations Will Be ‘Close Partner’ in Facing Future Challenges


Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moons remarks to national actors, delivered in French, in Bujumbura, Burundi, 9 June:

It is wonderful to be visiting Africa at this time…

When all eyes are on the continent for its hosting of the World Cup…

When so many African countries are celebrating half a century of independence, as you will in two years…

And when Burundi itself has made such important progress in consolidating peace.

I would like to congratulate you on your achievements to date.

Above all, they are the product of your efforts — nationally led, driven by a genuine desire for a definitive break with a turbulent past and for peace in what has been an unstable region.  I would like to pay a special tribute to the strong role Burundi’s women have played in this process — and I am glad to see women’s groups among the actors here today.

But these results would not have been possible without a sustained and effective partnership between Burundi, regional actors, the United Nations and the international community.

This is the first time in your country’s history that democratically elected institutions will have completed their full term of office.  That simple fact demonstrates how far the country has travelled, and how far it has had to travel.

These efforts culminated in the recent communal elections — the first round of the second peaceful and democratic polls this country has known.  I commend all involved:  Burundi’s parties, and the country’s people.

It is the responsibility of all Burundians to ensure that the electoral process remains free, fair, transparent and inclusive.  I congratulate you all on your important contribution to the conduct of the elections — and strongly encourage you to resolve any disputes through established legal mechanisms.

I understand that some political parties may boycott the presidential polls scheduled for 28 June.  I must underscore the importance of an inclusive process — and of accepting the democratic will of the people as expressed through that process.

Burundi is at a crossroads.

It faces significant challenges in key sectors.

Recovery.  Reconciliation.  Reform.  Economic development.  An end to impunity.  Successful elections that make possible a transition from one democratically elected administration to another.

The population yearns for these vital peace dividends.

Achieving them requires sacrifice and a spirit of compromise from all Burundians.

Let us work together to achieve them — and let us make them irreversible.

Ladies and Gentleman,

I have also been pleased to note that even as you have focused on your national efforts, you are also doing your part for international peace and security through Burundi’s contribution to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and other peacekeeping missions in Africa.  I would like to express my deep condolences to the families of soldiers who have paid the ultimate price while working to bring peace to Somalia.

Thank you again for your support.

The United Nations has had a long and important presence in this country.  Burundi figures prominently at the United Nations, on the agenda of the Peacebuilding Commission, of the Security Council, and in the hearts and minds of my senior officials.

Just as we will continue to be your good and close partner, I encourage you to pursue even closer partnerships with each other, and really engage with each other, for the sake of your country’s future.

Thank you.

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For information media • not an official record