2 November 2001


NEW YORK, 1 November (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the text of the message of Secretary-General Kofi Annan on the occasion of the installation of the Transitional Government of Burundi, delivered (in French) on his behalf by Berhanu Dinka, Special Representative for the Secretary-General for the Great Lakes region and Chairman of the Implementation Monitoring Committee:

It gives me great pleasure to send my greetings to this important event, which demonstrates the willingness and ability of Africans to seek and find solutions to Africa's problems.

Today is a defining moment in the history of Burundi and its long-suffering people. I would like to congratulate Their Excellencies President Pierre Buyoya and Vice-President Domitien Ndayizeye, and all the other members of the transitional institutions, and wish them every success in the challenging days ahead. I would also like to congratulate the Facilitator, Madiba Nelson Mandela, the leaders of the region, and the Burundian parties, for their initiative and relentless efforts to make this day possible.

A special tribute should be paid to the Implementation Monitoring Committee, which kept hope alive during the past year when the situation often looked extremely difficult and at times quite hopeless. I encourage the members of the Committee to maintain their cohesion and team spirit.

The United Nations has supported the peace process in Burundi since its inception under the wise leadership of the late Mwalimu Julius K. Nyerere. The Organization was encouraged to do so by the leaders of the region and by the choice made by the Burundian political class to pursue the path of peace through a negotiated settlement. As time has shown, that was the right choice, which merited and continues to deserve the support of people of good-will everywhere.

The signing last year on 28 August of the Arusha Peace and Reconciliation Agreement for Burundi was a success for the joint efforts of the international community, the region and the Burundian political class. The United Nations and the international community will continue to support the transitional institutions issuing from the Arusha accords, and do our part to ensure the successful conclusion of the implementation process. As you know, just three days ago the United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution endorsing efforts to support implementation of the Arusha Agreement.

The installation of the Transitional Government is a significant step forward. All of us are hopeful that this will usher in a new era in which the country's governance is informed by Africa's traditional values of tolerance and solidarity, and based on a constitutional framework that will accommodate diversity, engender mutual trust, and guarantee durable peace with justice and security for all. All communities in Burundi must make a conscious, sustained commitment to live at peace with each other.

The momentum generated by this occasion also offers an opportunity to address the principal outstanding issue -- the ceasefire. Efforts in this direction can succeed, but not without perseverance, wisdom, good faith and a willingness to compromise. I should like to take this opportunity to call once again on the two armed groups, the FDD and the FNL, to forsake violence and join the peace process without further delay, as they have also been urged to do in the Security Council's most recent resolution.

The people of Burundi have suffered immensely. Alleviating their plight and moving the country towards reconstruction and development must now be the priority. I wish you great success in the challenging tasks before you, and I reaffirm the commitment of the United Nations to support the Government and people of Burundi in their ongoing quest for durable peace. Thank you very much.

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