Burundi’s Government, rebels bear responsibility for peace – UN commission
The Burundian Government and a major rebel group are primarily responsible for implementing the ceasefire pact they signed in late 2006, the United Nations Peacebuilding Commission – which seeks to prevent post-conflict nations from sliding back into war – has concluded in a new report made public today.
The small Great Lakes nation is rebuilding after a brutal civil war between the Hutu majority and the Tutsi minority. In September 2006, the Comprehensive Ceasefire Agreement was signed between the Government and the last major rebel hold-out group, Forces Nationales de Libération (Palipehutu-FNL).
The UN, along with such groups as the Regional Peace Initiative and the African Union (AU), are working in tandem to assist in putting the Agreement into effect, the Commission noted.
“There is consensus among the international community that the political, security and socio-economic reintegration dimensions of the peace process must be addressed simultaneously to ensure the successful implementation of the Comprehensive Ceasefire Agreement.”
The Commission reported that a new Political Directorate – comprising representatives from the Government, Palipehutu-FNL, AU, Tanzania, Uganda, South Africa and the European Union (EU), among others – has been established in the capital, Bujumbura, aiming to promote dialogue on any obstacles to implementing the Agreement.
The report voiced concern over the Palipehutu-FNL’s withdrawal last July from the Joint Verification and Monitoring Mechanism, which was established to monitor the ceasefire, and called on the group to restart its participation. It also called on the FNL to take part in the work of the Political Directorate.
Additionally, the Commission recommended that the Government “continue to explore all ways to resolve its differences with leaders of Palipehutu-FNL with the aim of addressing them politically… and take the measures necessary to build confidence and create the conditions for the return of Palipehutu-FNL and their reintegration into national institutions.”
Earlier this month, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed concern at the simultaneous grenade attacks in Bujumbura on the homes of four parliamentarians.
In a statement, Mr. Ban urged “the Government of Burundi and all political leaders to work together through the national democratic institutions to ease the current tensions.”