3 July 2006
Security Council Extends Mandate of Burundi Operation until 31 December, Unanimously Adopting Resolution 1692 (2006)
Secretary-General Recommends Integrated Office to Commence 1 January 2007, Will Provide Support in 10 Areas, including Security Sector Reform, Demobilization
NEW YORK, 30 June (UN Headquarters) -- The Security Council today extended the mandate of the United Nations Operation in Burundi (ONUB) until 31 December, noting that, although there has been an improvement in the security situation since the completion of the transitional period, factors of instability continued to threaten peace and security in Burundi and the Great Lakes region of Africa
Unanimously adopting resolution 1692 (2006), the Council also decided to extend until 30 September the authorization contained in paragraph 1 of resolution 1669 for the Secretary-General to redeploy temporarily a maximum of one infantry battalion, a military hospital and 50 military observers from ONUB to the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC), with the intention of renewing such authorization according to future decisions by the Council concerning the renewal of MONUC's mandate.
The Council also welcomed the intention of the Secretary-General to establish at the end of ONUB's mandate an integrated office of the United Nations in Burundi, and looked forward to his proposals on structure, tasking and requisite resources in that connection.
The meeting, which began at 10:45 a.m., adjourned at 10:47 a.m.
The full text of resolution 1692 (2006) reads, as follows:
"The Security Council,
"Recalling its previous resolutions and statements of its President relating to the situation in Burundi and in the Great Lakes region of Africa, in particular its resolution 1650 (2005) of 21 December 2005 and resolution 1669 (2006) of 10 April 2006,
"Reaffirming its strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and unity of Burundi, and recalling the importance of the principles of good-neighbourliness, non-interference and cooperation in the relations among States in the region,
"Congratulating again the people of Burundi on the successful conclusion of the transitional period and the peaceful transfer of authority to a representative and democratically elected Government and institutions,
"Welcoming the ongoing negotiations between the Burundian Government and the Palipehutu-FNL which have been facilitated by South Africa and the Regional Peace Initiative for Burundi, and looking forward to the early conclusion of a comprehensive ceasefire agreement,
"Bearing in mind that the current mandates of the United Nations Operation in Burundi (ONUB) and of the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) will expire on 1 July 2006 and 30 September 2006, respectively,
"Taking note of the report of the Secretary-General on ONUB dated 21 June 2006 (S/2006/429),
"Noting that, although there has been an improvement in the security situation since the completion of the transitional period, factors of instability remain in Burundi and in the Great Lakes region of Africa, which continue to constitute a threat to international peace and security in the region,
"Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations,
"1. Decides to extend the mandate of ONUB until 31 December 2006;
"2. Decides to extend until 30 September 2006 the authorization contained in paragraph 1 of resolution 1669 for the Secretary-General to redeploy temporarily a maximum of one infantry battalion, a military hospital and 50 military observers from ONUB to MONUC, in accordance with resolution 1669, with the intention of renewing such authorization according to future decisions by the Security Council concerning the renewal of the mandate of MONUC;
"3. Welcomes the intention of the Secretary-General to establish at the end of the period mentioned in paragraph 1 above an integrated office of the United Nations in Burundi, and looks forward with interest, with a view to further consideration, to his proposals on structure, tasking and requisite resources in an addendum as mentioned in paragraph 79 of his report dated 21 June 2006, as well as benchmarks referred to in paragraph 66 of the report;
"4. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter."
The seventh report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Operation in Burundi (ONUB) (document S/2006/429) describes the results of collaborative planning with the Government regarding future United Nations presence in Burundi, including plans for a drawdown of the mission's current military and civilian components. It also discusses the Secretary-General's ideas for a United Nations integrated office in Burundi, following the termination of ONUB's mandate. A final extension of ONUB's mandate, to 31 December 2006, was put forward as a recommendation.
According to the report, the ONUB military drawdown has so far resulted in a military hospital and an aviation unit being repatriated in April, and 15 officers of the ONUB police component sent to Bujumbura to support the training of the National Police in March. By mid-June, ONUB's military strength on the ground stood at 3,516, bringing the total military personnel to 4,432, if the battalion and medical hospital currently deployed to the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) is included.
During Assistant Secretary-General Gilbert Houngbo's visit to Burundi from 21 to 25 May, an understanding was reached on the need for United Nations support to begin focusing on reconstruction, socio-economic development and national capacity-building. The report says that, during that visit, the Government confirmed its request for the establishment of a United Nations integrated office in Burundi, following the termination of ONUB's mandate. Priority areas requiring United Nations assistance are: (a) peace consolidation and democratic governance; (b) security sector reform and civilian disarmament; (c) human rights, judicial sector reform and transitional justice; (d) information and communications; and (e) reconstruction and socio-economic development.
The Secretary-General recommends that the integrated office, to be known as BINUB (Bureau Intégré des Nations Unies au Burundi), be set up for an initial period of 12 months, commencing on 1 January 2007. It is proposed that the integrated office be headed by an Executive Representative of the Secretary-General, who would also serve as the United Nations Resident Coordinator, Humanitarian Coordinator, UNDP Resident Representative and Designated Official for Security. Humanitarian and development activities of the United Nations Country Team would be consolidated under the integrated office.
The proposed mandate of the integrated office would include support to the Government in 10 areas, including strengthening the capacity of national institutions to address the root causes of conflict; developing a comprehensive plan for security sector reform (involving the Burundi National Police, the national army, and combating the proliferation of small and light weapons); completing the programme for the demobilization and reintegration of former combatants; facilitating the reintegration of returnees and internally displaced persons into their communities; establishing a national human rights commission and establishing transitional justice mechanisms; and promoting freedom of the press. Others include promoting economic growth and poverty reduction; ensuring environmental protection and the prevention and management of natural catastrophes, including food security; helping to mobilize resources for both emergency and priority programmes; and longer-term activities within the framework of the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper.
The General Assembly was requested to authorize the Secretary-General to commit to the financing of ONUB for the period from 1 July to 31 October 2006 in the amount of $79.2 million. The budget for the period from 1 July 2006 to 30 June 2007, including the administrative liquidation of ONUB, will be submitted to the Assembly during the main part of its sixty-first session. As at 31 March 2006, unpaid assessed contributions to the special account for ONUB amounted to $91.3 million.
The report also provides an update on progress in the peace consolidation process, saying the prospects for ending the armed conflict through a negotiated settlement between the Government and National Liberation Front (FNL) gained significant momentum during the reporting period. Negotiations took place in two separate commissions: a military commission to address the disarmament and demobilization of National Liberation Front (FNL) elements or their integration into the security services; and a political commission to address aspects such as provisional immunity for FNL leadership, refugee returns and resettlement of displaced persons and FNL's participation in national politics. In the presence of President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa and President Kikwete of the United Republic of Tanzania, the Government of Burundi and FNL signed an Agreement on Principles towards Lasting Peace, Security and Stability in Burundi, on 18 June. The Agreement outlines the principles agreed to between the two sides, but detailed technical negotiations on a comprehensive ceasefire agreement are expected to continue.
The security situation continued to be destabilized by clashes between FNL and the National Defence Forces (FDN), with rising criminality especially in the western provinces, the report says. Even so, the reporting period was marked by a decrease in major FNL attacks against FDN. The Government began to use the former demobilization centre at Randa as a temporary holding facility for captured, arrested or surrendered alleged FNL elements, including minors. However, ONUB, the World Bank Multi-country Demobilization and Reintegration Programme (MDRP) and donors have informed the Government that international support for the disarmament or demobilization of former FNL combatants could not be provided in the absence of a formal agreement between the Government and FNL.
Further progress was made in the disarmament and demobilization of FDN members. A total of 20,298 former combatants have been demobilized at the time of the report, with another round of demobilization expected by August. In April, FDN strength stood at less than 28,000 personnel, with an expected target of a 25,000-strong FDN to be reached by December.
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