Communiqué of the 808th Meeting of the Peace and Security Council on the situation in Burundi
The Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the African Union (AU), at its 808th meeting, held on 19 November 2018, adopted the following decision on the situation in Burundi.
Takes note of the briefings on the situation in Burundi that were made by the Commissioner for Peace and Security, H.E. Ambassador Smaïl Chergui and by the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the Commission for Burundi, H.E. Basile Ikouebe. Council also takes note of the statement made by the Permanent Representative of the Republic of Burundi to the AU, H.E. Ambassador Dieudonne Ndabarushimana, as well as representatives from the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) and United Nations;
Recalls all Assembly Decisions on the situation in Burundi, particularly Decision Assembly/AU /Dec.695(XXXI) adopted by the 31st Ordinary Session of the AU Assembly of Heads of State and Government, held from 1 to 2 July 2018, in Nouakchott, Mauritania, in which the Assembly, requested the Commission to accompany Burundi during this phase and contribute, together with the East African Community (EAC) to its efforts towards an all-inclusive dialogue and the strengthening of democracy and respect for human rights in the country. Council also recalls all its previous decisions and pronouncement on the situation in Burundi particularly Communiqué PSC/MIN. (DCCXCVII) adopted at its 797th meeting held at ministerial level on 24 September 2018, in New York, United States of America and Communiqué PSC/PR/COMM. (DCCXCIV), adopted by Council at its 794th meeting, held on 19 September 2018 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia;
Reaffirms its attachment to the respect of the sovereignty, and territorial integrity of the Republic of Burundi in line with the AU Constitutive Act. Council reaffirms also the centrality of the Arusha Peace and Reconciliation Agreement of 28 August 2000, as a corner stone for peace and the frame of reference to the all efforts and initiatives aimed at finding lasting solution to challenges facing peace, security and stability in Burundi;
Welcomes the visit from 5-7 November 2018, to Burundi of the Commissioner for Peace and Security, H.E. Ambassador Smaïl Chergui, and H.E Mme Catherine Samba Panza, former President of the Transition in the Central African Republic, to explore best means and ways for the AU to assist Burundi as it begins preparations for the elections scheduled to take place in 2020;
Takes note of the relative stability that continues to prevail in Burundi, and encouraged the Government of Burundi to take additional necessary confidence building measures, in order to further improve the political climate with a view to prevent and reduce political tensions in the period leading up to the elections in 2020;
Requests the Commission to continue to engage the Government of Burundi with a view to support all AU initiatives, including to expediting the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding for the deployment of the Human Rights Observers and Military Experts, bearing in mind its previous decision to reduce the number of these observers and experts, given the improvement of the general situation in the country;
Takes also note of the gradual return of refugees and internally displaced persons under the supervision of the authorities and stressed the importance of ensuring full compliance with international human rights and humanitarian law and African standards addressing the protection of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs);
Further takes note of the convening of the 5th Round of the all-inclusive Inter-Burundian Dialogue, from 24 to 29 November 2018, in Arusha, Tanzania, in the absence of the Government, under the auspices of the East African Community (EAC). In this context, Council commends once again, the EAC Facilitator, H.E. former President Benjamin Mkapa, and the Mediator, H.E. President Yoweri K. Museveni of Uganda, for their tireless efforts aimed at bringing together all Burundians.
Furthermore, Council underlines the need for all Burundian stakeholders to take an active part in the Dialogue process, as it is the only viable framework within which the countries of the region, with the support of the AU and relevant partners, can continue to accompany Burundi in its efforts towards restoring sustainable peace, security and reconciliation in the country. In this respect, Council encourages all Burundian stakeholders to preserve the gains achieved since the signing of the Arusha Agreement in 2000. Council also stresses the need for a rapid resumption of the all-inclusive Inter-Burundian Dialogue and requested all actors to take part in this crucial process for the future of Burundi;
Welcomes once again the decision by H.E. President Pierre Nkurunziza to comply with the Constitution of his country, by not standing for a new term during the election scheduled to take place in 2020 and underscored the need for a peaceful and constitutional transition to further enhance the gains achieved thus far;
Reaffirms its commitment to continue supporting all efforts aimed at finding lasting, peaceful and consensual solution to the situation in Burundi. To this effect, Council agrees to maintain until further notice the Human Rights Observers and Military Experts in Burundi, in order for them to support the Government and people in Burundi in their quest for peace and stability, particularly as they prepare for the 2020 elections;
Requests the Chairperson of the Commission together with the EAC, and in cooperation with the Government of Burundi, and in coordination with the United Nations and all other relevant partners, to work towards identifying additional efforts to better accompany Burundi in its journey towards sustainable and consolidated peace, security and reconciliation including through a peaceful, inclusive and credible election in 2020;
Reiterates the call by the AU Assembly and its own to the European Union to lift the unilateral sanctions imposed on Burundi, and reiterates the decision of the AU Assembly “for the lifting of sanctions imposed by the European Union on Burundi, in order to create the opportunity for socio-economic recovery in the country”;
Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.