COUNCIL ENDORSES MEMBER STATE DRIVE TO IMPLEMENT ARUSHA AGREEMENT, SUPPORTS INTERIM MULTINATIONAL SECURITY PRESENCE IN BURUNDI
NEW YORK, 29 October (UN Headquarters) -- The Security Council this afternoon endorsed the efforts of the Government of South Africa and other Member States to support the implementation of the Arusha Agreement, and strongly supported the establishment of an interim multinational security presence in Burundi to protect returning political leaders and train an all-Burundian protection force.
Welcoming the agreement reached at the Summit of the Regional Initiative on 11 October in Pretoria, South Africa, the Council unanimously adopted resolution 1375 (2001) by which it called on all parties to the Arusha Agreement and the armed groups, namely, the Forces pour la Défense de la Démocratie (FDD) and the Forces Nationales de Libération (FNL), to end immediately all acts of violence against civilians.
The Council called on the FDD and the FNL to cease immediately all hostilities, enter into negotiations and join the peace process. It called on all the States of the region to support that process.
The Council urged the international community, with the installation of the Transitional Government, to provide additional assistance, including by honouring fully the pledges made by donors during the Paris Conference of December 2000.
In a statement following the vote, the representative of the United Kingdom congratulated the Government of South Africa on its initiative to create an interim multinational security presence. While the United Kingdom supported that initiative and was ready to provide financial assistance for it, he wished to emphasize that the Council was not endorsing the Force or giving it United Nations support.
The meeting, which began at 12:11 p.m., was adjourned at 12:15 p.m.
The full text of resolution 1375 (2001) reads as follows:
"The Security Council,
"Recalling all its previous resolutions and statements of its President on the situation in Burundi, in particular the statement of its President of 26 September 2001 (S/PRST/2001/26),
"Reaffirming that the Arusha Peace and Reconciliation Agreement of August 2000 (Arusha Agreement) remains the most viable basis for a resolution of the conflict together with the continued efforts to build an internal political partnership in Burundi,
"Expressing deep concern at the ongoing violence and insecurity in Burundi,
"Noting with concern the implications of the situation in Burundi for the region as well as the consequences for Burundi of continued regional instability,
"Reiterating its strong support for the facilitation of former President Nelson Mandela in his efforts to achieve a peaceful solution to the conflict in Burundi,
"Supporting the efforts of the Secretary-General to enhance the role of the United Nations in Burundi, and in particular the continued work of his Special Representative for the Great Lakes region, as well as in his capacity as Chairman of the Implementation Monitoring Committee (IMC),
"Commending the continued efforts of, and support from, the Organization of African Unity/African Union for a peaceful resolution of the conflict,
"Welcoming the agreement reached at the Summit of the Regional Initiative on 11 October 2001 in Pretoria, South Africa, on the legal framework and the structure of the transitional government, and the composition of the cabinet, the senate and the transitional national assembly,
"Also welcoming the letter from the Foreign Minister of South Africa to the President of the Security Council of 23 October 2001 and the letter from the President of Burundi to the President of South Africa annexed thereto (S/2001/1013),
"1. Reaffirms its strong support for the 1 November 2001 installation of the transitional government in Burundi;
"2. Calls on the parties to the Arusha Agreement and the armed groups, namely the Forces pour la Défense de la Démocratie (FDD) and Forces Nationales de Libération (FNL) to put an end immediately to all acts of violence against civilians;
"3. Calls on the FDD and FNL to cease immediately all hostilities, enter into negotiations and join the peace process; and calls on all the States of the region to support fully the process;
"4. Endorses the efforts of the Government of South Africa and other Member States to support the implementation of the Arusha Agreement, and strongly supports in this regard the establishment of an interim multinational security presence in Burundi, at the request of its Government, to protect returning exiles and train an all-Burundian protection force;
"5. Requests the Government of Burundi to keep the Council informed of progress to establish an all-Burundian protection force;
"6. Reiterates its willingness to consider, in the light of progress in the peace process, further contributions to the peace process and the implementation of the Arusha Agreement;
"7. Urges the international community, with the installation of the transitional government, to provide additional assistance, including by honouring fully the pledges made by donors during the Paris Conference of December 2000;
"8. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter."
When the Security Council met this afternoon it had before it a letter from the Foreign Minister of South Africa (document S/2001/1013). He informs the Council that, in response to a request by President Pierre Buyoya of Burundi, South Africa intends to deploy a battalion in Burundi on 1 November to serve as an interim protection force until an all-Burundian unit has been trained to take over the responsibility.
Calling attention to the seventeenth Regional Summit on Burundi, held in Pretoria on 11 October 2001, he said that at the Summit, the Facilitator, former President Nelson Mandela, reported that there is agreement between the Government of Burundi and the representatives of seven opposition parties on the legal framework for and the structure of the Transitional Government and the composition of the Cabinet, the Senate and the Transitional National Assembly. The Summit participants called for the deployment of an impartial multinational presence within Burundi, which will serve as a confidence-building measure in support of the Arusha peace process in general and, in particular, of the imminent inauguration of the interim Government in Burundi.
He notes that South Africa is one of the countries that were requested to contribute to this multinational presence, which will safeguard returning political exiles and assist with the training of an all-Burundian protection unit. On behalf of his Government, the Foreign Minister requests that the Council endorse the deployment of the interim international presence in Burundi.
According to the Department of Political Affairs (www.un.org.), the long-standing internal conflict in Burundi led in 1993 to a coup attempt in which the first democratically elected President, a Hutu, and six ministers were killed. Fighting between the largely Tutsi army and Hutu rebels followed, resulting in massive internal displacements of people and threatening to further destabilize the region. An estimated 200,000 people died in Burundi’s civil war.
Over the years, the United Nations has been actively involved in a good offices mission in Burundi. However, the peace process had made little progress and the security and humanitarian situation continued to deteriorate. Violence in the country continued to escalate, with armed attacks and other violent incidents involving killings, looting and destruction of property. Victims have included United Nations humanitarian relief workers.
On 18 October 1999, the United Nations Secretariat invited a number of Special Envoys and Representatives for Burundi from the United Nations, the Organization of African Unity (OAU), the European Union, Francophonie, Canada and the United States for informal consultations to examine how the United Nations could best help advance the peace process. The Secretary-General decided to send to the region his Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Kieran Prendergast, to discuss measures to keep the peace process on track. Despite those initiatives, the situation in Burundi was still tense and the peace process had entered a critical stage. United Nations activities supported efforts of the Facilitator of the Burundi Peace Process, former President Nelson Mandela, who was designated in December 1999 by a meeting of African heads of State in Arusha, Tanzania. To support the work of the Facilitator, the Secretary-General had appointed Aiyté Jean-Claude Kpapko (Benin) as Senior United Nations Adviser to the Facilitator of the Burundi Peace Process.
During January 2000, Mr. Mandela met in Arusha with the parties to the negotiations and subsequently addressed the Security Council in New York on his peace efforts. Following the designation of Mr. Mandela as the new Facilitator, the Secretary-General decided to raise the profile of the United Nations within the overall efforts of the international community to address the deteriorating political and humanitarian situation in Burundi. He appointed, in January 2000, Berhanu Dinka (Ethiopia) as his Special Representative for the Great Lakes region.
Intensive diplomatic efforts led by Mr. Mandela resulted in the Peace and Reconciliation Agreement, which was signed on 28 August 2000 in Arusha by the parties to the Burundi peace process. Unfortunately, not all parties signed the document. In the following weeks, Mr. Mandela made further efforts to bring the remaining Burundi movements and groups into the agreement.
The humanitarian suffering which has plagued Burundi since late 1993 remains unabated. Hundreds of thousands have died as a direct result of the conflict between the Government and opposition forces. The number of Burundian refugees has reached 500,000, and is growing. More than 800,000 people –- 12 per cent of the country’s population -– are internally displaced, many of them as a result of a deliberate Government policy relocating civilians in circumstances where it cannot be justified under international civilian law. Donors have largely continued to limit their involvement to the financing of emergency assistance, and the Government has not been able to increase the provision of basic services. Total funding requirements for the 2000 United Nations Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal for Burundi is estimated at $70.6 million.
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