External assistance will be crucial to helping Burundi meet its emergency and administrative needs during the country’s political transition, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said in a message today to a donors’ conference in Geneva.
"This meeting offers an opportunity to once again demonstrate the commitment of the international community to helping the people of Burundi leave behind an era of great misery and upheaval, and turn their attention to the essential work of recovery, reconciliation and economic and social development," Mr. Annan told the Round-Table Conference in a message delivered by his Deputy Special Representative for Burundi, Nureldin Satti.
The Secretary-General called on donors to provide assistance to meet Burundi’s emergency needs and to close its budget gap and balance of payments deficit. He hailed those that have made good on past pledges to help the country, and urged others to follow their example.
"Your discussion takes place at a time when prospects for peace are emerging and when the Transitional Government is implementing an important economic and social recovery programme," Mr. Annan emphasized, calling for continued international support for "these and other steps towards resolving a very complex and volatile situation."
Reviewing recent political developments in the country, the Secretary-General said ceasefire talks between the Government and the armed movements have generated momentum. "It is my hope that those talks, which resumed this week in Dar-Es-Salaam, will lead to concrete results and put an end to the long suffering of the Burundi population," he said.