SECURITY COUNCIL WILL SUPPORT IMMEDIATE,
Presidential Statement Requests Secretary-General to Study Ways Of Responding Positively,
NEW YORK, 18 December (UN Headquarters) -- The Security Council this morning expressed its intention to support the immediate and full implementation of the agreements signed between the parties in Burundi, in particular the Ceasefire Agreement of 2 December 2002. It also requested the Secretary-General to study ways of responding positively and urgently to the request for the deployment of the African mission provided for in that accord.
In a statement read by its President, Alfonso Valdivieso (Colombia), the Council emphasized the merits of cooperation between the African mission and the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC), and recalled that the responsibility for the Burundi peace process lay primarily with the Burundian parties themselves. As the support of the international community was critical to the success of the peace process, the Council also welcomed the success of the donor round table organized in Geneva on 27-28 November. It called on donors to respond urgently to the significant recent progress in Burundi and to disburse fully the contributions promised so far.
Strongly condemning all massacres and acts of violence against civilians in Burundi, the Council expressed serious concern about the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the country, calling on all parties to grant safe access to humanitarian personnel to deliver assistance to vulnerable populations.
The full text of the presidential statement, to be issued as S/PRST/2002/40, reads, as follows:
"The Security Council welcomes the signing of the ceasefire agreement between the Transitional Government of Burundi and the Conseil national pour la défense de la démocratie-Front de défense de la démocratie (CNDD-FDD) on 2 December 2002 in Arusha ("the Ceasefire Agreement"). It pays tribute to the courageous and responsible decision by the President of the Transitional Government of Burundi, Mr. Buyoya, and by the legal representative of CNDD-FDD, Mr. Nkurunziza, to sign the agreement. It welcomes their decision to implement the truce immediately, while finalizing all pending political issues within the time limits set by the agreement.
"The Security Council supports the decision of the 19th regional Head of States summit of the Regional Initiative to direct the Palipehutu Forces Nationales de Libération (FNL) to enter into negotiation immediately and conclude a ceasefire agreement by 30 December 2002 or face the consequences. In this regard, the Council strongly urges the FNL, under the leadership of Mr. Rwasa, to put an end immediately to the hostilities, sign a ceasefire agreement and commit themselves to political negotiations. It recalls that the settlement of the crisis in Burundi depends on a political solution, and that only a negotiated settlement in the framework of the Arusha Agreement of 28 August 2000 will enable the country to restore stability, in accordance with the will of the Burundian people.
"The Security Council expresses its intention to support the immediate and full implementation of the agreements signed between the Burundian parties, in particular the Ceasefire Agreement of 2 December 2002. It requests the Secretary-General to study ways of responding positively and with urgency to the requests of the Burundian parties and of the Facilitator, the Deputy President of the Republic of South Africa, in particular with regard to:
-- Any expertise and advice which the Secretariat could provide to facilitate the definition of the mandate and the deployment of the African mission provided for in the Ceasefire Agreement of 2 December;
-- Facilitation of logistical assistance to the deployment of this mission;
-- Mobilization and coordination of donor contributions;
-- Designation, at the request of the parties, of a person to chair the Joint Ceasefire Commission.
"The Security Council emphasizes the merits of cooperation between the African mission and the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC), in particular in the border area.
"The Security Council expresses its thanks for the historic role played by former President Mandela, pays tribute and expresses its full support to the efforts of the Republic of South Africa, in particular its Deputy President, M. Zuma, the Facilitator of the Burundian peace process. It pays tribute to the role of the African Union. It also pays tribute to the efforts of the Republic of Tanzania and President Mkapa, President Bongo of Gabon, President Museveni of Uganda, and the other Regional Initiative countries. The Council also expresses its full support to the action taken by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Burundi and approves the recommendations of the Secretary-General, in paragraphs 47 to 51 of his report of 18 November 2002 (S/2002/1259), with a view to increasing the resources of the United Nations Office in Burundi.
"The Security Council recalls that the responsibility for the Burundi peace process lies primarily with the Burundian parties themselves. The parties must agree without further delay on the modalities of the reform of the Army, as well as the political issues mentioned in Annex 2 of the Ceasefire Agreement of 2 December 2002. The Council requests the parties to continue to respect their commitments. The Council condemns the human rights violations that have taken place in Burundi and calls for the perpetrators to be brought to justice.
"The Security Council recalls the joint communiqué issued by the Governments of Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo on 7 January 2002 (S/2002/36) expressing their intent to normalize their relations. It calls on them to finalize and implement an accord as soon as possible ensuring the territory of the Democratic Republic of the Congo will not be used for armed attacks against Burundi, as well as the effective withdrawal of Burundian troops from Congolese territory. It also notes that, as the Burundi parties have taken the bold step of reaching the 2 December 2002 Ceasefire Agreement, the Security Council stands ready to consider steps against States that are found to continue to support armed attacks by the Burundi rebels.
"The Security Council recalls that the support of the international community, in particular financial support, is critical to the success of the peace process. In that regard, it welcomes the success of the donor round table organized in Geneva on 27-28 November 2002, and calls on donors to respond urgently to the significant progress made recently and to disburse fully the contributions promised so far. In particular, it calls on donors to provide the necessary financial assistance to facilitate the return to development and financial stability, and to consolidate the substantial efforts deployed by the Burundian authorities in this regard.
"The Security Council pays tribute to the donors that are supporting the deployment of the South African Special Protection Unit, encourages them to continue their efforts and calls on the donor community to mobilize to help the countries concerned set up, as soon as possible and in liaison with the United Nations, the African mission provided for in the Ceasefire Agreement of 2 December 2002, and to participate to the financing of the repatriation and the reintegration of Burundian refugees.
"The Security Council strongly condemns all massacres and other acts of violence against civilians in Burundi.
"The Security Council expresses serious concern about the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Burundi. The Council calls on all Burundian parties to take practical steps to grant safe access to humanitarian personnel in their efforts to deliver assistance to vulnerable populations throughout Burundi."
When it met, the Security Council had before it the report of the Secretary-General (document S/2002/1259) on developments in Burundi since his last report of 14 November 2001.
Among the important developments of that period, the report notes that the Implementation Monitoring Committee of the Arusha Agreement was relocated to Bujumbura, Burundi, from Arusha. The Transitional National Assembly was formally installed in January 2002; it elected Jean Minani, of the Front for Democracy in Burundi (FRODEBU), as its Speaker. The Transitional Senate, meanwhile, elected Libere Bararunyeretse, of the Union for National Progress Party (UPRONA), as its President.
The report states that efforts towards an all-inclusive ceasefire agreement had intensified, under the leadership of South Africa, with support from Gabon and the United Republic of Tanzania, and with the support of the United Nations and the African Union. One result was the ceasefire agreement of 7 October 2002 between the Transitional Government of Burundi and the National Council for the Defence of Democracy-Forces for the Defence of Democracy (CNDD-FDD) and the Party for the Liberation of the Hutu People-National Liberation Forces (PALIPEHUTU-FNL).
The Secretary-General states that the armed groups that have so far stood aloof should negotiate a ceasefire agreement and join the peace process. The United Nations will do all it can, he says, to contribute to a comprehensive and all-inclusive agreement. Once such an agreement is reached, the Secretary-General intends to provide, to the Security Council, recommendations on the future course of action, including a possible expansion of United Nations involvement.
Meanwhile, the human rights situation in Burundi remains volatile, according to the report. The belligerents seem to increasingly target civilians, with hundreds killed in 2002. Of particularly grave concern was the classification of civilians as rebels by the military because of their presence in locations designated as conflict areas, or their perceived collaboration. The civil war, in addition, has increased poverty and weakened the legal and judicial system, and has led to a breakdown of the existing social and communal infrastructure.
The Secretary-General states that the donor community should exert greater efforts to provide assistance to Burundi, urging it in particular to support the consolidated appeals process for humanitarian and development needs. At the same time, the parties to the conflict should facilitate safe and unhindered passage to humanitarian workers.
Regarding the role of the United Nations Office in Burundi (UNOB), the report states that the role was adjusted and refocused once the Implementation Monitoring Committee -- its primary responsibility -- moved to Burundi. To support the Committee's work, the ceasefire negotiations and continuing political functions, the staffing and resources of UNOB have needed to be increased.
For 2003, the report points to additional needs, including a spokesperson, a protection officer for the special representative and eight local staff. Three military advisers and civilian police would also be attached to UNOB for contingency planning towards the possible deployment of a United Nations peacekeeping mission. Any change on the ground will, according to the report, necessitate a review of the tasks of UNOB and the resources needed to accomplish them.
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