Security Council urges rebel groups in Burundi to cease hostilities

Security Council urges rebel groups in Burundi to cease hostilities

With the conclusion of a ceasefire the "number one" priority in Burundi, members of the Security Council today strongly condemned the "unjustifiable" attacks launched by rebels since the country's transitional government came into office on 1 November.

The 15-member body again called for the rebel groups to cease hostilities and to initiate negotiations with the transitional government, Ambassador Moctar Ouane of Mali, the Council President for the month of December, said in statement to the press. "[Council members] also call on countries of the region which have influence on the rebels to use such influence to that end," he said.

The Council also invited President Omar Bongo of Gabon and Vice-President Jacob Zuma of South Africa, with the support of the countries of the region, to initiate as soon as possible the process of negotiations between the armed groups and government, Ambassador Ouane said. The two mediators were entrusted with the job of facilitating negotiations between the two sides at the Regional Initiative Summit of 11 October.

Expressing their concern at the gravity of the humanitarian situation in Burundi, Council members reiterated their appeal to all the parties to guarantee access by the humanitarian organizations to the populations in distress throughout the territory.

"[They] reiterate the need to mobilize the international community on behalf of Burundi and, in this connection, welcome the holding of the roundtable conference on Burundi today in Geneva," Ambassador Ouane said. "They note with satisfaction the commitments made by the donors during this meeting and call on them to honour these commitments as soon as possible."