The United Nations Security Council today urged all Burundian parties to ensure political transition and long-term stability in the country following the recent signing of a cessation of hostilities declaration by the country's President and the leader of the rebel Forces for National Liberation (FNL).
A statement read out at a formal meeting by this month's Council President, Ambassador Ellen Margrethe Løj of Denmark, said that during closed-door consultations on the situation in Burundi, the members took note "with satisfaction" of the declaration signed on 15 May in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, by President Domitien Ndayizeye and FNL leader Agathon Rwasa.
"The Council took note in particular of the commitment by both parties to immediately cease hostilities, agree within a month on a permanent ceasefire, and negotiate without disturbing the electoral process," said Ambassador Løj.
She said the Council also shared the understanding that the 15 May declaration was "a first step" to rapidly integrating the rebel group, in a negotiated manner, into the country's current transitional process. "The Council remains convinced that FNL's participation in the process will facilitate the holding of forthcoming elections," in accordance with the timetable confirmed at the last meeting of the regional Initiative for Peace in Burundi on 22 April in Entebbe, Uganda.
In the statement, the Council commended mediation by Tanzania's President Benjamin Mkapa, the Tanzanian Government, and, more generally, the efforts of the States of the regional Initiative chaired by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, and of the facilitation led by South African Deputy President Jacob Zuma, as well as those made by Carolyn McAskie, Secretary-General Kofi Annan's Special Representative for Burundi, to bring the peace process to a successful conclusion.
"The Council reiterates that bringing an end to the climate of impunity in Burundi and the Great Lakes region is essential to that process," said Ambassador Løj, adding: "The Security Council urges all Burundian parties to exert greater efforts to ensure success of the transition, national reconciliation and stability of the country in the long-term."