The United Nations Security Council today welcomed the signing of the ceasefire agreement early this month between the Government of Burundi and a rebel group, and asked Secretary-General Kofi Annan to "study ways of responding positively and with urgency to the requests of the Burundian parties."
In a statement read out by the President of the Security Council, Ambassador Alfonso Valdivieso of Colombia, the Council reaffirmed its support of the peace process in Burundi, and asked the Secretary General to assist by providing "expertise and advice" in facilitating the "definition of the mandate and the deployment of the African mission" established in the accord signed on 2 December in Arusha, Tanzania.
The Council also requested the Secretary-General to help in providing logistical support for the mission, as well as the mobilization of potential donors, and the selection of a chair for the Joint Ceasefire Commission established pursuant to the Agreement.
"The settlement of the crisis in Burundi depends on a political solution, [and] only a negotiated settlement in the framework of the Arusha Agreement of 28 August 2000 will enable the country to restore stability," the statement read. The Council praised the efforts of the Burundian Government to improve the domestic economic situation, and called on donors to "provide the necessary financial assistance to facilitate the return to development and financial stability."
The Council's statement also pointed out that a number of issues remain outstanding, including the reform of the army, and called on the Governments of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Burundi to normalize relations as soon as possible, pursuant to their joint communiqué of 7 January.
The Council also expressed "serious concern about the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Burundi," and called on all parties "to grant safe access to humanitarian personnel in their efforts to deliver assistance to vulnerable populations" throughout the country.