Press Releases

    SG/SM/8680
    AFR/612
    2 May 2003

    Secretary-General Congratulates New President and Vice-President of Burundi, Notes Ongoing Violence and Instability Despite Ceasefire

    NEW YORK, 30 April (UN Headquarters) -- Following is Secretary-General Kofi Annan's message on the occasion of the swearing-in of the President and Vice-President of Burundi for the second phase of the transition, delivered by Berhanu Dinka, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Burundi, in Nujumbura on 30 April:

    I take this opportunity to extend my warm congratulations to the new President of the Republic, Domitien Ndayizeye, and to the Vice-President, Alphonse Kadege.

    I should also like to pay tribute to the outgoing President, Major Pierre Buyoya, who, while honouring the commitments undertaken, demonstrated his maturity and wisdom in reaching a consensus which does credit to Burundi and the Burundians.

    The second phase of the transition, unfortunately, is starting in an environment which is still unstable. Despite the ceasefire agreements concluded in October and December 2002 between the Government and the armed movements, war and violence are continuing.

    All means must therefore be employed to achieve an immediate, total and permanent ceasefire.

    I call upon Pierre Nkurinziza's Conseil National pour la Defense de la Democratie (CNDD) to respect the commitments undertaken and the agreements signed, to put an end to indiscriminate attacks against the civilian population and to cooperate with the Government, the mediation, the region, the African Union and the Joint Ceasefire Commission so that the ceasefire can take effect immediately.

    I once again call upon Agathon Rwasa's Parti pour la Liberation du Peuple Hutu-Forces Nationales de Liberation (PALIPEHUTU-FNL) to cease hostilities and enter into negotiations with the Government without delay.

    I welcome the initiatives of the African Union, which sent military observers and took the necessary measures for the deployment of the African mission. The necessary resources must be mobilized to permit the rapid deployment of all the forces envisaged.

    The Government will have to resolve major and sensitive issues, including reform of the army and the police, and the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of former combatants.

    The Government will also have to establish the necessary mechanisms for the return and resettlement of refugees and displaced persons.

    I urge the international community to support these efforts by providing humanitarian assistance and the financial, technical and logistical support required for the country's recovery and reconstruction.

    I take this opportunity to thank the Heads of State and other personalities of the region for the countless efforts they have made to restore peace in Burundi.

    I am referring, in particular, to Nelson Mandela, facilitator of the process, Yoweri Museveni, Chairman of the Regional Initiative, Benjamin Mkapa and Jacob Zuma. I also commend the central role played by the late Julius Nyerere in the Arusha peace and reconciliation process.

    The United Nations, which has always supported Burundi, will continue to uphold and promote the peace process and the effective implementation of the ceasefire agreements through the Joint Ceasefire Commission. It will also support the African force. My Special Representative for Burundi, who is responsible for coordinating the efforts of the United Nations, will continue to chair the Implementation Monitoring Committee of the Arusha Agreement.

    Although unable to leave New York, my thoughts are with the Burundian people and their leaders. I hope that we will soon be able to celebrate together the end of violence and the beginning of an era of peace and stability.

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