Burundi + 1 more

Aldo Ajello On Prospects For Peace In Great Lakes Region

MAPUTO, Mozambique (PANA) - The special envoy of the European Union to the Great Lakes region, Aldo Ajello, said Sunday there were "signs of progress and great optimism" in the search for peace in Burundi.
On the other hand, there was "a certain stagnation" in efforts to solve the conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo, about which Ajello expressed "serious concern."

Ajello spoke to the Mozambican news agency before leaving for the Tanzanian city of Arusha, where he will take part in another meeting on Burundi between the "facilitators", and delegations of the various Burundian political parties.

"We shall discuss various problems, and I'm sure that a certain amount of progress will be made," he said.

In Burundi, "the process is under way, and we're very optimistic", he added. "There are many problems that have to be solved, but the presence of the new facilitator, the former South African president, Nelson Mandela, is a factor of very strong encouragement."

But in the Great Lakes region as a whole, Ajello cited the Democratic Republic of Congo as the big problem.

"There's a cease-fire agreement, but it's not being respected," he said.

Ajello noted that the failure to comply with the cease-fire was delaying the dispatch of a UN peacekeeping force.

"The situation is deteriorating in Congo," he added. "We have to discuss this matter seriously to see what should be done."

Ajello said he believes that the most opportune moment to discuss the Congolese conflict would be the Europe-Africa summit due to be held in Cairo from 3-4 April.

Conflict resolution will be one of the main themes of the summit.

Ajello was the UN Special Representative to Mozambique during the implementation of the 1992 peace agreement.

He said that Mozambique, with its experience of a successful peace-keeping mission, could contribute in finding a solution to the conflicts in central African region in two crucial areas.

One is the issue of granting amnesty for crimes committed during the conflict.

Mandela raised the question of an amnesty at the last meeting on Burundi in Arusha, which was a key part of the peace agreement of the Mozambican peace process.

The second issue was that of demobilisation and the integration into society of the demobilised fighters, which Ajello believed had been extremely successful in Mozambique.

"We hope we can use this experience to help solve the problems of the Congo and Burundi," he said.

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