Global Policy Forum

Burundi's Peace Process Hampered by Political Process

UN News
November 30, 2007

In recent months, efforts to bring a lasting peace to Burundi have been impeded by a deteriorating political situation, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says in a new report to the Security Council made public today.

"The peace consolidation process in Burundi has passed through a difficult period in the past six months," Mr. Ban says in a report on the work of the UN Integrated Office in Burundi (BINUB) covering the period since 17 May. "The political crises and institutional paralysis, along with the blockage in the peace process, underscores the fragility of the situation and the continued need for vigilance."

The small Great Lakes nation has been the victim of violent coups and political instability since gaining independence in 1962. Decades of ethnic conflict pit the Hutu majority against the Tutsi minority, and enormous challenges persist, the report states. Mr. Ban also voices concern over the worsening overall security situation and ongoing human rights violations.

Welcoming the appointment of an inclusive Government earlier this month, he commended President Pierre Nkurunziza "for the leadership and the flexibility in ending the political crisis that had heightened tensions and delayed the implementation of key peace consolidation tasks." To meet high expectations – both national and international – the new Government must endeavour to address the challenges Burundi faces in its reconstruction efforts, the report notes.

In July, the Palipehutu-FNL, the last major rebel hold-out group, withdrew from the Joint Verification and Monitoring Mechanism set up to monitor a ceasefire it signed with the Government last year. "There is an urgent need for the resumption and early implementation of the comprehensive ceasefire agreement within an overall political framework that addresses the concerns of the Government and FNL," Mr. Ban says.

He expresses concern over the continuing stalemate between the sides, which has had humanitarian and security consequences, and urged the FNL to resume its participation in the Joint Verification and Monitoring Mechanism. "I call upon the Government and FNL to meet the aspirations of all Burundians and seize this opportunity by engaging in good faith on the issues that have hindered progress to date," the Secretary-General adds.

The report urges a greater role for BINUB, which "should continue to provide political and technical support to help national actors address the root causes of the conflict, prevent a relapse into conflict and create an environment conducive to recovery and development."



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