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Worried by relief situation in Burundi, Security Council urges end to conflict

Worried by relief situation in Burundi, Security Council urges end to conflict

Amb. Richard Ryan addressing the press
Members of the United Nations Security Council today voiced deep concern at the humanitarian situation in Burundi and called on warring parties there to suspend hostilities and enter into negotiations towards a ceasefire.

The call, made in a statement to the press by Council President Richard Ryan of Ireland, followed a meeting during which the UN Secretariat briefed the UN security body on the situation in Burundi.

In their statement, Council members condemned the continuing violence in the country and said they were concerned by what they termed the "appalling" humanitarian situation there.

They reiterated their call to the international community to increase humanitarian, development and economic assistance to support the people of Burundi and the transitional Government, and to alleviate the plight of the large number of internally displaced persons. "All parties are called upon to respect human rights and humanitarian law and to facilitate access for humanitarian assistance," the members said.

Noting the importance of the current phase in Burundi's peace process, the Council called on all parties to "seize this opportunity and to work together in a spirit of compromise to resolve outstanding difficulties."

The Council members also reiterated their strong support for the installation of the transitional Government in Burundi on 1 November and called on the signatories of the Arusha Agreement to uphold their commitments so that the necessary legal and political environment will be established to facilitate the return of the exiled political leaders. In that context, they called on the Burundian parties to reach agreement on outstanding issues such as the establishment of a special unit to provide protection for returning political leaders, and encouraged States to support that endeavour.

The statement also reiterated the Council's earlier call on all concerned States to cease all forms of support to the rebel Forces nationales pour la libération (FNL) and the Forces pour la défense de la démocratie (FDD), and urged all Member States - in particular the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Zimbabwe and Tanzania - to encourage the armed groups to join the peace process.

Members of the Security Council reiterated their strong support for the facilitation of former South African President Nelson Mandela, and for the Implementation Monitoring Committee.