Burundi’s Government and the rebel group Palipehutu-FNL must now summon the political will and courage to overcome outstanding issues and successfully conclude the peace process they agreed to two years ago, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today.
“Time is of the essence,” he told a regional summit of the Burundi Peace Initiative in a message delivered by his Executive Representative for Burundi Youssef Mahmoud in Bujumbura, the small Central African country’s capital. “The crucial deadline for completing the full implementation of the Comprehensive Ceasefire Agreement is fast approaching.
“I therefore urge the Government and the Palipehutu-FNL to work with greater urgency and determination to reach compromises on the difficult issues which have so far hindered their efforts.”
Burundi 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 Palipehutu-FNL, the last major rebel hold-out group.
The group’s leader, Agathon Rwasa, returned home this May in what Mr. Ban the called a “significant development.”
Today, he thanked the Regional Initiative leaders, the South African Facilitation and the African Union for “their tireless efforts” to help the parties in their quest for a durable solution.
“I urge you to do your utmost at this Summit to achieve an outcome that helps restore hope for the Burundian people, and enables them to imagine a more prosperous and peaceful future,” he said. “For my part, I reaffirm the commitment of the United Nations as well as the Organization’s readiness to continue its support, in full coordination with regional and international partners.”