Press Releases

    28 November 2002



    NEW YORK, 27 November (UN Headquarters) -- Following is Secretary-General Kofi Annan's message to the Burundi Round Table Conference, delivered on his behalf by his Deputy Special Representative for Burundi, Nureldin Satti, in Geneva on 27 November:

    It gives me great pleasure to send my greetings to the participants in this round-table conference on Burundi. I would like to congratulate the Transitional Government and its development partners, who have worked tirelessly to organize this event, which continues the dialogue that began at previous such meetings in Paris and Geneva. This exercise is yet another example of the commitment of the international community to assist the people of Burundi in their efforts to achieve peace, democracy and development.

    The signing of the Arusha Agreement in August 2000, the establishment of the Transitional Government in November 2001 and other transition institutions soon after, as well as the relocation of the Implementation Monitoring Committee to Bujumbura, have created rising expectations throughout the country. The ceasefire negotiations between the Government and the armed movements have also generated momentum. It is my hope that those talks, which resumed this week in Dar-Es-Salaam, will lead to concrete results and put an end to the long suffering of the Burundi population.

    Thus, your discussion takes place at a time when prospects for peace are emerging and when the Transitional Government is implementing an important economic and social recovery programme. The international community has supported these and other steps towards resolving a very complex and volatile situation. Such support will continue to play a crucial role. I call on the country’s development partners to help Burundi implement the social emergency programme that will be presented at this Conference, and to provide the assistance needed for the country to make up its budget and balance of payments deficits. Those donors that have already started to honour the pledges announced in Paris and Geneva merit our gratitude and recognition; they have set an example I hope others will follow.

    My Special Representative will continue to work with the Government and all armed groups to reach a comprehensive accord. The United Nations Development Programme, Bretton Woods institutions and other parts of the United Nations system will continue to do their part. This meeting offers an opportunity to once again demonstrate the commitment of the international community to helping the people of Burundi leave behind an era of great misery and upheaval, and turn their attention to the essential work of recovery, reconciliation and economic and social development. In that spirit of partnership and hope, I wish you a successful conference.

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