The United Nations Peacebuilding Commission, which was established to help countries recovering from war avoid a relapse of violence, today held talks in New York on its strategy for Burundi, which suffered decades of ethnic conflict pitting the Hutu majority against the Tutsi minority.
"The strategic framework is a document that should highlight the make or break priorities for sustaining peace in Burundi, and outline those commitments needed from the government and the international community to meet those priorities," said Norway's Ambassador Johan Løvald, who chaired the informal meeting and recently led a mission to the country.
"To be most useful, the framework should not include a listing of needs, all of which are already well documented in existing frameworks and strategies, but should rather articulate those issues that will be critical for safeguarding peace in Burundi."
The strategic framework recognizes the responsibility of the country's leaders towards achieving stability, said Youssef Mahmoud, Executive Representative of the Secretary-General in Burundi.
"This vision is one of a country where the ghost of the ethnic conflict and civil war will wiped out forever," he declared.
But he stressed that the most immediate priority is effective implementation of the Ceasefire Agreement between the Government and the Palipehutu-National Liberation Forces (Palipehutu-FNL).
Another major challenge is the urgent need to quickly reach a national consensus on the justice mechanisms of transition and to assure progress toward national reconciliation, he said, calling for consolidation of democratic culture. Security forces, he stressed, must always act in the interests of the population, while ex-fighters must be reintegrated into society.
International support for Burundi is also key to the consolidation of peace, he said, proposing a series of consultations next month with all partners in this effort.
Established in December 2005, the Commission focuses on reconstruction, institution-building and the promotion of sustainable development in post-conflict countries.