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Burundi: Security Council pays tribute to upcoming political handover

Burundi: Security Council pays tribute to upcoming political handover

Council President Amb. Adolfo Aguilar Zinser
Paying tribute again to the upcoming political transition in Burundi, the United Nations Security Council today underscored the importance of President Pierre Buyoya's commitment to handover office by 1 May, and recommended that all the country's political leaders continue working in the spirit of consensus.

In a statement to the press, Ambassador Adolfo Aguilar Zinser of Mexico, which holds the rotating presidency of the 15-nation body for the month of April, said that as Burundi prepares to enter this second phase of its political transition, the Council members encouraged all parties to pursue efforts towards full implementation of the Arusha Agreement

With that in mind, members of the Council welcomed the adoption by the Transitional National Assembly of the law on the punishment of crimes of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, Ambassador Zinser said, adding that they urged the Assembly "to make every effort to adopt the bill on provisional immunity in accordance with the Arusha Agreement."

Expressing support to the efforts for facilitation and to the regional initiatives aimed at allowing a return of peace to Burundi, the Council President stressed that members urged Agathon Rwasa's Forces Nationales de Libération (FNL) to end hostilities immediately, to join the ongoing peace process without further delay and to open negotiations with the government.

"Members of the Council paid tribute to the African Union for the deployment of observers and encouraged the deployment, without further delay, of the forces of the African Mission,' Ambassador Zinser said. In this connection, the Council called on the international community to mobilize the necessary funds to allow the deployment of the Mission when the necessary costings are available.

Urging donors to contribute generously to Burundi's transitional debt relief fund, the Council also urged them to support the country's economy, to honour the engagements taken at the Paris and Geneva Conferences, and to provide, as a matter of utmost urgency, budgetary and balance of payments support to the Government.