Consultations on Burundi and Afghanistan
In informal consultations this morning, we started by noting the tragic
shooting and killing of a Russian soldier in Kosovo yesterday, 11 April. The
Council wanted to express, and did express, their regrets and condolences to
the delegation of the Russian Federation and also condemned this act of
violence against the peacekeepers in Kosovo, and were very interested in an
investigative follow-up and in action be taken against the perpetrators of that.
That was a sad note to start our briefing this morning.
We then got into Afghanistan with a very short brief from the Secretariat on
one or two questions raised recently by members of the Council. We did not
get into a briefing on Afghanistan as a whole or a discussion. The
Secretary-General is due to give us a report on Afghanistan next week and
there will be a debate in informal consultations on Afghanistan later next
week, so it was a very curtailed discussion on that.
Thirdly, we talked about Burundi. We had a very full report from Sir Kieran
Prendergast, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, on current
developments in Burundi on the basis also of a quite useful factual briefing
paper from the Secretariat for members of the Council. The Council wanted
me to make a number points to the media about that.
The Council wanted to express its support very clearly for the facilitation by
former President Mandela which is continuing and for the efforts by regional
leaders to support that facilitation. Members of the Council called on the
signatories to the Arusha Agreement to pursue efforts aimed at dialogue
reflecting the spirit of the Arusha Agreement and to refrain from any action
that might comprise progress already made and might contribute to a further
deterioration of the situation on the ground, which remains quite worrying.
They also called on the armed rebel groups who are not yet signatories to the
Arusha Agreement to cease violence which is continuing in Burundi and to
pursue dialogue aimed at the cessation of hostilities. And they supported and
indeed encouraged regional leaders and the signatories themselves to
back-up this message to the armed rebel groups to put down their weapons
and enter the process of dialogue. That is an important ancillary point to our
appeal to the signatories themselves.
Members of the Council condemned the recent acts of violence that have
occurred on the ground in Burundi, which include attacks on humanitarian
workers and on convoys. Most recently a WFP convoy was attacked. And in
condemning those attacks they urged the parties to observe international
humanitarian law, to allow access for humanitarian workers to those who need
assistance, and to refrain of course from the kind of vicious attacks that we
have witnessed in recent days.
The Council will be following up on Burundi over the coming weeks, and I think
that there will be an interest when we take a mission to the Great Lakes to
maintain our particular focus on this issue.
Q: Was there a logic behind the decision of the Council to stay entirely out of
the Chinese/US affairs following the detention of the air crew? Did China and
the United States express to you that they had no desire to see this issue
taken up in the Council, or was this your own decision to stay out of it?
A: It has not been discussed in the Council at all, and there has been no
approach by either government to the Security Council to take this matter up.
Q: On the Afghanistan briefing, could you tell us what the briefing covered?
We understand that perhaps a possible sanctions violation was raised.
A: There was no mention of any particular sanctions violations. Nor were any
detailed points taken up.