31 January 2003

Press Statement on Burundi by Security Council President

NEW YORK, 30 January (UN Headquarters) -- Following is today's statement to the press on Burundi by Security Council President Jean-Marc de La Sablière (France):

Members of the Council welcomed the signing on 25 and 27 January of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Transitional Government and the CNDD/FDD (Alain Mugabarabona) and the PALIPEHUTU/FNL (Jean Bosco Ndayikengurukiye) and the Joint Declaration of Agreement with CNDD/FDD (NKURUNZIZA), and the decision of Jean Bosco Ndayikengurukiye and Alain Mugabarabona to return to Burundi on 10 February and to start cantonment of their troops in mid-February.

Members of the Council reiterated support for the Regional Initiative, South African Facilitation and the African Union.

Members of the Council commended the Central Organ of the African Union for its endorsements of deployment of a team of observers immediately followed by the African Mission, and called upon the international donor community to provide the necessary resources.

Members of the Council expressed appreciation to countries who have announced their readiness to send observers and to contribute troops to the African Mission.

Members of the Council encouraged the parties to respect fully all the commitments they have undertaken and underscored the importance for all parties to fulfill their obligations regarding the transition scheduled for next May. In this regard, they urged the parties to the Joint Declaration to refrain from military actions, stop recruitment of fighters and to continue negotiations.

Members of the Council urged the leaders of the belligerent parties to reach an understanding on major outstanding issues for implementing the ceasefire agreements.

Members of the Council demanded PALIPEHUTU-FNL (Agathon Rwasa) to immediately cease hostilities and join the peace process with a view to negotiating a ceasefire agreement without further delay.

Members of the Council urged the leaders of the signatory parties to take urgent steps towards reform of the security sector and to provide the information necessary to determine modalities for a process of Demobilization, Disarmament and Reintegration.

Members of the Council called on all Burundian parties who are recruiting or using child soldiers in violation of their international obligations to immediately halt such recruitment or use of children.

Members of the Council commended the efforts of the donor community, in particular the European Union, for their contribution to the peace process and called for their continued financial, material and logistical support to the next phase of the process.

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