Burundi: Security Council welcomes recent moves by parties towards peace

New York, Jan 30 2003 3:00PM - Members of the United Nations Security Council today welcomed the recent moves in Burundi by the Government and rebel leaders towards settling the nation's ongoing conflict.
The current President of the Council, Ambassador Jean-Marc de La Sablière of France, said in a statement to the press that members welcomed the signing on 25 and 27 January of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Transitional Government and the CNDD/FDD (Alain Mugabarabona) and the PALIPEHUTU/FNL (Jean Bosco Ndayikengurukiye) and the Joint Declaration of Agreement with CNDD-FDD (Nkurunziza).

They also hailed the decision of Jean-Bosco Ndayikengurukiye and Alain Mugabarabona to return to Burundi on 10 February and to start cantonment of their troops in mid-February, Ambassador de La Sablière added.

Council members "encouraged the parties to respect fully all the commitments they have undertaken and underscored the importance for all parties to fulfil their obligations regarding the transition scheduled for next May," the statement said. "In this regard, they urged the parties to the Joint Declaration to refrain from military actions, stop recruitment of fighters and to continue negotiations."

Members also urged the leaders of the belligerent parties to reach an understanding on major outstanding issues for implementing the ceasefire agreements, according to the Council President, who noted that the 15-nationa body demanded PALIPEHUTU-FNL (Agathon Rwasa) to immediately cease hostilities and join the peace process with a view to negotiating a ceasefire agreement without further delay.

The statement said Council members urged the leaders of the signatory parties to take urgent steps towards reform of the security sector and to provide the information necessary to determine modalities for a process of Demobilization, Disarmament and Reintegration.

The Council members also called on all Burundian parties who are recruiting or using child soldiers in violation of their international obligations to immediately halt such actions.

According to Ambassador de La Sablière, Council members reiterated support for the Regional Initiative, South African Facilitation and the African Union, and commended the AU's Central Organ for its endorsements of deployment of a team of observers immediately followed by the African Mission. They called on the international donor community to provide the necessary resources and expressed appreciation to countries that have announced their readiness to send observers and to contribute troops to the operation.