Burundi: Security Council welcomes new government, condemns attacks on civilians
“The Security Council welcomes the continued engagement of the Regional Initiative and, in this regard, also welcomes the deployment of the first elements of the multinational security presence tasked with the protection of returning political leaders,” the Council president, Ambassador Patricia Durrant of Jamaica, said in a statement read out at an open meeting of the Council early Thursday evening. “The Council calls on all the Burundian parties to support this undertaking, and expresses its gratitude to the Government of South Africa for its contribution to the cause of peace in Burundi.”
In the statement, the Council also condemned the recent attacks on civilians by the Force for the Defence of Democracy (FDD) and the National Liberation Front (FNL) and expressed grave concern that the frequency of such acts had increased.
The Council reminded the two armed groups that the installation of a broad-based government in accordance with an internationally accepted peace process made armed rebellion an unacceptable means of political expression. It also reiterated its call for an immediate suspension of hostilities in Burundi and for armed groups to enter into negotiations to reach a definitive ceasefire.
The presidential statement was read out during the Council’s second meeting of the day on Burundi. Earlier, the Council was briefed by Berhanu Dinka, Special Representative of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan for the Great Lakes Region and Chairman of the Implementation Monitoring Committee.
In his statement, Mr. Dinka said it was now up to Burundian political leaders, with support from the region and the international community, to ensure the success of the transitional institutions. Failure was not an alternative, he stressed.
Mr. Dinka noted that one of the remaining challenges for Burundi was to ensure a ceasefire because as long as violence persisted, the peace process would remain fragile. The other task was the reconstruction and development of the country; the only way Burundians could be made to continue support for the peace process was if their lives were positively affected by recent changes.