The United Nations Security Council today called for an immediate suspension of hostilities in Burundi and for the armed groups to enter into negotiations.
In a presidential statement read out by Ambassador Anwarul K. Chowdhury, the Permanent Representative of Bangladesh, the Council reiterated its concern at the continuation of the conflict in Burundi and its toll on the civilian population, and stressed its support for the Arusha process and the efforts of the Facilitator, Nelson Mandela. It encouraged Secretary-General Kofi Annan, through his representatives, to continue to engage the armed groups and contribute to coordinated efforts to bring about a political settlement of the conflict.
The statement also emphasized the need for the parties to the Arusha Peace and Reconciliation Agreement of August 2000 to implement all provisions of that accord, including those stipulating the establishment of new institutions.
On the humanitarian front, the Council expressed grave concern at the continuing human rights abuses and violations of humanitarian law in Burundi, and urged respect for such rights. "In particular, it urges the belligerents to commit themselves immediately to the protection of civilians, in particular their life, physical integrity and the means necessary for their survival," the Council said, reiterating also its call for safe and unhindered access for the delivery of humanitarian aid to all people in need.
To donors, the Council said an increase of humanitarian and development assistance to the people of Burundi was needed, in keeping with the pledges by the international community at the Paris Donor Conference on 11-12 December 2000.