12 December 2001




NEW YORK, 11 December (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the statement to the press on Burundi issued on 7 December by Security Council President Moctar Ouane (Mali):

The members of the Security Council condemn in the strongest terms the unjustifiable attacks launched by the rebels since the Transitional Government came into office. They also express their serious concern over reports of abductions of children in the past few weeks.

The members of the Security Council again call on the rebel groups to cease hostilities and to initiate negotiations with the Transitional Government. They also call on the countries of the region which have influence on the rebels to use such influence to that end. The conclusion of a ceasefire is, as of now, the number one priority in Burundi.

The members of the Security Council welcome the mission entrusted at the Regional Initiative Summit of 11 October to President Bongo and Vice-President Zuma so as to facilitate negotiations between the rebels and the Government. They invite the mediators, with the support of the countries of the region, to initiate as soon as possible the process of negotiations with the armed groups.

The members of the Security Council pay tribute to the efforts of the South African Protection Unit and invite the Transitional Government to expedite preparations for the installation of a Burundian special protection unit.

The members of the Security Council condemn in the strongest terms the assassination of Dr. Kassi Manlan, the representative of the World Health Organization in Burundi, and demand that the perpetrators be brought to justice.

The members of the Security Council express their concern at the gravity of the humanitarian situation in Burundi and reiterate their appeal to all the parties to guarantee access by the humanitarian organizations to the populations in distress throughout the territory.

The members of the Security Council reiterate the need to mobilize the international community on behalf of Burundi and, in this connection, welcome the holding of the Round Table Conference on Burundi today in Geneva. They note with satisfaction the major commitments made by the donors during this meeting and call on them to honour theses commitments as soon as possible.

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