PRESS STATEMENT ON BURUNDI BY SECURITY COUNCIL PRESIDENT
Following is today’s statement to the press on Burundi by Security Council President Jean-Marc de La Sablière (France):
This morning, members of the Security Council heard a statement by Mr.Sadry, head of the United Nations Reconnaissance Mission recently sent by the Secretary-General to Burundi, on recent developments in the situation in that country.
On that occasion, Council members reaffirmed their full support for the peace process of the Agreement signed in Arusha on 28 August 2000, and for the transitional authorities.
They once again expressed concern at the continuing fighting and urged all the parties concerned to exercise restraint. They urged the Forces nationales de libération (Palipehutu-FNL), led by Mr. Rwasa, and the Government to complete the talks with a view to promote, as soon as possible, a complete cessation of hostilities and the participation of Palipehutu-FNL in the transitional institutions.
They encouraged the transitional authorities to enact without delay the laws and regulations required for the holding of elections within the time limits provided for by the Arusha Agreement.
Council members took note of the progress made in the preparation of the programme for the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of combatants and called on the parties to firmly commit to it without delay. They encouraged international financial institutions and donor countries to support the programme.
Members of the Council paid tribute to the efforts made by the States of the Regional Initiative on Burundi and the Facilitation, in particular South Africa, as well as by the African Union, to bring peace to Burundi. They also hailed the efforts of the African Mission in Burundi (AMIB), and of the South African, Ethiopian and Mozambican contingents which make it up.
Members of the Council took note of the recommendations contained in the latest report of the Secretary-General on a peacekeeping operation in Burundi. Without prejudice to the action that the Council might wish to take on those recommendations, they invited the African Union to consider extending the mandate of AMIB, due to expire on 2 April 2004. They called on the international community to provide AMIB with such financial, material and logistical support as it might need in the meantime.
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