Burundi: Stop acts of violence, UN envoy tells politicians

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[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

BUJUMBURA, 22 June (IRIN) - Burundian politicians should give peace a chance by refraining from violence during the country's electoral process, a senior UN official said on Tuesday.

"Any use of violence will also affect you and maintain [many] Burundians in poverty," Carolyn McAskie, the Special Representative of UN Secretary-General to Burundi and head of the UN peacekeeping mission there, said in the capital, Bujumbura.

She spoke at the close of the 29th session of the Implementation and Monitoring Committee, created under a peace and reconciliation accord that Burundian parties signed in August 2000 under which a transitional government was created.

McAskie, who chairs the Monitoring Committee, told political leaders that violence would compromise the country's relative peace under which it is holding elections aimed at re-establishing democracy after 12 years of civil war.

Leaders of political parties, she said, should control "their undisciplined supporters, in compliance with the code of conduct". All the political parties in the country have signed a code of conduct binding them to respect each other during the electoral process and to avoid any incitement to violence.

McAskie said since the holding of nationwide communal elections in early June, there had been reports of violence and counteraccusations from political parties over who bore responsibility. She added that politicians should remember that there were "political solutions to political problems".

During the Monitoring Committee meeting that started on Monday, members discussed an assessment of the communal elections.

Even if there were reports of some irregularities, McAskie said, the international community had accepted the results. She called on the different Burundian partners to endorse the results.

However, after the release of provisional results of the communal poll, several political parties, including one of the main majority Hutu-dominated parties, the Front pour la democratie au Burundi (also known as FRODEBU), rejected the results. It accused the winner, the Conseil national pour la défense de la démocratie-Forces pour la défense de la démocratie, led by Pierre Nkurunziza, of using "intimidation and terrorism" to win votes.

Since the communal polls, the political climate has remained tense between the two parties, affecting campaigns that began on 18 June for legislative elections to be held on 4 July.


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