Declaration by the Presidency on behalf of the European Union on Burundi

Brussels, 4 February 2000
5832/00 (Presse 23)
P 012/00

The EU has been following closely the situation in Burundi. The resumption of the Arusha Process and the subsequent UN Security Council "Open Briefing" on Burundi mark a new phase and hopefully will give a fresh and decisive impetus to the successful accomplishment of the current peace process.

The EU welcomes these positive signs of a revitalised Arusha Peace Process and expresses its full support to the new facilitator, Nelson Mandela, for putting all his eminent wisdom and political experience at the service of the important task of achieving a peaceful solution to the conflict in Burundi.

The EU remains, however, concerned at the ongoing violence and insecurity in Burundi, as well as at the increasing flow of refugees and internally displaced people.While taking note of the January 19th Declaration of the Burundi Government and its pledge to progressively close regroupment camps, the EU calls on the authorities in Bujumbura to proceed to a speedy dismantling of all those camps and makes a further appeal to all the Burundian parties to guarantee the security of those involved in humanitarian assistance.

The EU remains concerned over cross-border insurgent activity, and welcomes the agreement between Burundi and Tanzania to expeditiously implement established mechanisms of consultations regarding border issues.

The EU continues to be convinced that lasting peace in Burundi can only be achieved through political means. In this light, the EU reaffirms its support for the peace process, encompassing the Arusha negotiations and the internal partnership. The EU urges all the Burundian rebel movements to join the negotiations.The EU calls on all parties to the conflict to cooperate closely with the facilitator Nelson Mandela and his team and to contribute constructively, in a spirit of compromise and reconciliation, to the search for a peaceful and lasting solution to the political crisis in the country. The EU is willing to gradually resume its structural aid to Burundi in the light of the engagement of the parties to the peace negotiations, and subject to improvements in human rights and the security situation.

The Central and Eastern European countries associated with the European Union, the associated countries Cyprus, Malta and Turkey, and the EFTA countries, members of the European Economic Area align themselves with this declaration.