A delegation of the Security Council that is currently on a trip to the Great Lakes region of Africa held talks with the Burundian leaders in Bujumbura today, underscoring the Council's awareness of the link between the situations in Burundi and in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
"We will not allow for a solution to the conflict in the DRC to be had at the expense of Burundi," said the mission's leader, Ambassador Jean-David Levitte of France, after the Council delegation had met for an hour this morning with the signatories of the Arusha accords.
The Arusha accords, originally signed in August 2000, address the root causes of the conflict in the country, such as exclusion and genocide, as well as the tragic consequences of the war, including the plight of hundreds of thousands of refugees and internally displaced people.
Stressing that "there is no military solution" to the Burundi crisis, Ambassador Levitte said the Council would plead for peace and for the establishment of democratic institutions that would fully protect minority rights.
He also noted that Burundi was present for the first time as an observer during a joint meeting in Zambia on Tuesday night of the Council and the Political Committee of the Lusaka Agreement, which concerns the DRC conflict.
According to a UN spokesman, after talks with the signatories of the Arusha accords, the Council mission met with Burundian President Pierre Buyoya at the Presidential Palace, and then flew to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, to meet with the leadership of the National Liberation Front, one of two armed Hutu rebel groups that have not yet signed the Arusha accords.