The Secretary-General's stakeout with President Nkurunziza of Burundi [unofficial transcript]
Bujumbura, Burundi, 9 June 2010SG: First of all, Thank you. Merci M. le President, merci mesdames et messieurs les medias. Je suis tres heureux de render visite officielle au Burundi. Je vous felicite pour votre leadership. I thank you again very much for all your very kind welcome.
For your question, Burundi has demonstrated great stride, significant stride in the democratization process. The communal election which was held last month was regarded as a fair and transparent, credible elections by the European Union monitors and international monitors, that I congratulate for such a democratic accomplishment.
Now, Burundi is setting a very good example as a country going toward a more democratic rules as well as a more participatory process. This is a very good beginning and I hope that you will build upon this already accomplished process.
Now you are going through a very crucial, important period - the electoral process for the presidential elections on June 28th. Normally in any democratic country, elections generate excitement and dynamism. Sometimes, it creates some controversies. I was told that thirteen opposition political parties have decided to boycott the presidential election. I sincerely hope and I urge all political parties, ruling party or opposition party, if there are any difference of opinion, or any allegations of fraud or harassment or intimidation in the process, those claims and allegations should be raised and brought up to the concerned institutional mechanisms and I sincerely hope that this electoral commission will review these allegations and claims. This is a democratic process in any country. This is what I would like to urge all the political parties. I have discussed with President [Pierre] Nkurunziza about how we can see the credible and fair and objective presidential election so that you can build upon more on this peace dividend. This is very important. This can show great example to many other countries who are striving towards a fuller democracy after getting out of this conflict.
My final comment, my message in a nutshell is that there may be some difference of opinion and that may be natural in any democratic society. So this kind of difference of opinions should be harmoniously resolved through a political dialogue, among the parties concerned. And if there are still dissatisfactions, then these should be addressed through existing institutional mechanisms. That is the basic principle of democracy.
Q: [on Le Bureau intégré des Nations Unies au Burundi (BINUB)]
SG: First of all, as you may know the mandate of BINUB (Le Bureau intégré des Nations Unies au Burundi) expires on 31 December this year. BINUB has been making very important contributions to help ensure peace and stability and also social-economic development. We have a large number of United Nations agencies and funds and programmes belonging to the UN Country Team. They will continue to support Burundi government and people in the area of ensuring peace and stability and social-economic development. Now, my Executive Representative, Mr Charles Petrie, he has already begun to discuss with the government officials of Burundi to find out what would be the most desirable and appropriate shape of this contribution of BINUB when this mandate comes to December, to its expiration date. I have discussed this matter with President Nkurunziza and he assured me full cooperation and full support for continuing the presence of BINUB. All this needs to be discussed mutually.
Q: [on Somalia]
SG: The United Nations is very much grateful for the noble and very important contribution of Burundi and the Burundian people to the peace and stability of Somalia. Your soldiers have been working under very difficult, even dangerous circumstances, and I am very much grateful and I have expressed my most sincere sympathies and condolences to family members of those people who have ultimately given their lives for the cause of peace and stability in Somalia. I am very much grateful and encouraged by the promise and by the willingness of the Burundi government to work even more for the peace and stability in Somalia. This afternoon I had an opportunity of meeting all the troops who have been to Somalia and would be deployed in Somalia soon, with many generals and including the Defence Minister. I was very much impressed by their strong sense of mission, dedicated mission, and their disciplined way of doing their duty in Somalia, and again my most sincere appreciation. As far as the United Nations is concerned we are closely discussing with the African Union and European Union how we can strengthen the capacity of the AMISOM soldiers of Burundi, and how we can support more in terms of financial support in the form of salary. We are going to raise the salary to the level of the United Nations peacekeeping missions and we are also going to have more training for AMISOM soldiers. So you have my full support and commitment on your contribution and at the same time I would really hope and expect that you will contribute more to the peace and stability of Somalia.
Off-the-Cuff on 9 June 2010