Expressing serious concern at the continuation of hostilities by a rebel group in Burundi despite the successful transition to a democratically-elected Government there, the United Nations Security Council today extended the mandate of the UN peacekeeping mission in the country for six months until 1 July 2006.
The 15-member Council voted had last month to extend the mandate of the United Nations Operation in Burundi (ONUB) for two months, until 15 January, to allow time for discussion of ONUB's future, and, as part of today’s resolution, authorized some redeployment and welcomed Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s continued dialogue with the Government on a gradual disengagement.
In his most recent report to the Council on the situation, Mr. Annan had recommended extending the mandate of a reduced ONUB well into next year, saying that the most urgent priority was to ensure that the conflict with the rebel Palipehutu-National Liberation Forces (Palipehutu-FNL) is brought to an end.
As a step toward adjustment and disengagement, the Council, through today’s resolution, authorized the temporary redeployment of military and civilian police personnel among ONUB and the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC).
While it was envisaged that the withdrawal of the ONUB force could, at the request of the Government, be completed in the second half of 2006, a detailed drawdown plan for the remaining approximately 3,000 ONUB troops would be developed after a joint assessment to be carried out by ONUB and the National Defence Force in January 2006.
According to the resolution adopted today, the Council looked forward to receiving the report on that assessment by 15 March 2006.