Burundi: Ban welcomes political conversion of former militia

22 April 2009
Military officers at a demobilization centre in Burundi

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today welcomed the accreditation of a former armed opposition group in Burundi as a political party, lauding its renunciation of armed conflict.

The certification of the Forces Nationales de Libération (FNL) yesterday comes on the heels of the separation and formal disarmament of its armed wing, including the separation of children associated with the group.

The FNL’s rejection of violence “paves the way for its participation in the democratic process in Burundi,” Mr. Ban said in a statement.

The small Central African nation is rebuilding after a brutal civil war between the Hutu majority and the Tutsi minority that killed hundreds of thousands of people. In September 2006, the Comprehensive Ceasefire Agreement was signed between the Government and FNL, the last major hold-out group.

The Secretary-General noted the decisions made by the Burundian Government and the FNL on 8 April, under the leadership of a South African facilitator, to set up a mutually accountable roadmap for the finalization of the peace process.

He urged both parties to “continue their enhanced cooperation” to complete the last phase of the Comprehensive Ceasefire Agreement.

In today’s statement, Mr. Ban also commended neighbouring countries for their ongoing efforts to support the implementation of the pact, calling on the international community to “continue to lend the necessary support for the timely conclusion of the peace process in Burundi.”

Burundi was one of the first countries to receive support from the UN Peacebuilding Commission, which was set up in 2005 to help post-conflict countries determine priority areas for reconstruction out of the vast array of challenges they face.

 

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