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Secretary-General welcomes rebel leader’s return to Burundi

Secretary-General welcomes rebel leader’s return to Burundi

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today welcomed the return to Burundi of the leader of the Palipehutu-FNL, the rebel group involved in deadly fighting with Government forces in recent weeks, and called on both sides to finally end their conflict.

Agathon Rwasa’s return is a “significant development,” Mr. Ban said in a statement issued by his spokesperson, noting that it follows “a number of positive steps in the Burundi peace process,” including the joint declaration on Monday of a cessation of hostilities between the two sides.

“The Secretary-General urges Palipehutu-FNL and the Government of Burundi to seize this opportunity to finally end long-standing conflict in Burundi,” according to today’s statement. “He urges them to stay the course and implement the agreements reached between them without delay.”

Dozens of people have died over the past month in and around the capital, Bujumbura, despite a ceasefire between the Government and the Palipehutu-FNL, the last major rebel hold-outs after the end of the brutal civil war between the Hutu majority and the Tutsi minority.

In the statement today Mr. Ban also thanked the leaders of the Regional Peace Initiative for Burundi, the South African Facilitation and the Political Directorate for their efforts to promote dialogue.