Central Organ examines developments in Burundi

The Central Organ of the Mechanism for Conflict Prevention, Management and Resolution that held its 88th Ordinary Session at Ambassadorial level in Addis Ababa, on Tuesday examined developments in the peace process in Burundi on the basis of the report presented by the Interim Chairperson of the Commission and the briefing by Deputy President of South Africa Mr. Jacob Zuma, as well as statement by the Burundi Minister for External Relations and International Cooperation.
After its deliberations, the Central Organ expressed satisfaction at the signing in Arusha, Tanzania, on 2 December 2002, at the 19th Summit of the Regional Initiative for peace in Burundi, held on 1-2 December 2002, of a cease-fire agreement between the Transition Government of Burundi and Mr. Pierre Nkurunziza's wing of the CNDD-FDD. The Central Organ underscored the fact that this agreement, which comes after that signed on 7 October 2002 between the Transition Government and Jean Bosco Ndayikengurukiye's faction of the CNDD-FDD and Alain Mugabarabona's faction of PALIPEHUTU-FNL, constituted a significant step in the peace process in Burundi.

The Central Organ urged the parties concerned to scrupulously respect the agreements that had been signed and to refrain from any action likely to complicate the implementation of the cease-fire. In this regard, the Central Organ expressed its grave concern at recent incidents between the armed forces of Burundi and the combatants of CNDD-FDD of Pierre Nkurunziza, as well as the tension prevailing on the ground, which poses a serious threat to the pursuit of the ongoing peace process.

It condemned the ambush of a convoy of vehicles traveling towards Bujumbura, on 12 January 2003, in which several people were killed and many others wounded.

The Organ appealed to the parties involved to extend maximum cooperation to the Co-Facilitator and to attend the scheduled follow-up meeting that had been convened in Pretoria, South Africa, on 16 January 2003, to clarify outstanding issues relating to the implementation of the ceasefire, including the implementation timetable and took note of the disposition expressed by the Transition Government of Burundi to attend the meeting.

It underscored the urgent need to deploy the African Mission to supervise the cease-fire concluded between the armed groups signatories to the 7 October and 2 December 2002 agreements, and the Transitional Government of Burundi and expressed its support for this deployment. In this regard, the Central Organ encouraged the Interim Chairperson to urgently provide financial resources from the AU Peace Fund and to assist in mobilizing other resources to facilitate the speedy deployment of the African Mission.

The Central Organ welcomed the initiative of the Interim Chairperson to convene in Addis Ababa from 15 to 16 January 2003, a meeting of experts from the Regional Initiative, the Mediation, the Commission of the African Union and the United Nations to discuss the nature of the proposed African Mission, its deployment, modus operandi and funding, as well as the contribution expected from the African Union.


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