17 April 2003

Press Statement on Burundi by Security Council President

NEW YORK, 16 April (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the statement to the press on Burundi, delivered today by Security Council President Adolfo Aguilar Zinser (Mexico):

Members of the Council have again paid tribute to the upcoming political change in Burundi and encouraged all parties in Burundi to pursue their efforts in favour of the implementation of the Arusha Agreement in the context of the second period of the transition. They underlined the importance of President Buyoya's commitment to the 1st of May handover. Members of the Council recommend to the political leaders of Burundi to continue to seek permanently consensus and shared management of public affairs.

Members of the Council welcomed the adoption by the Transitional National Assembly of the law on the punishment of crimes of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity; and urged the Transitional National Assembly to make every effort to adopt the bill on provisional immunity in accordance with the Arusha Agreement.

Members of the Council urged Mr. Rwasa's Forces Nationales de Libération (FNL) to stop immediately the hostilities, to join without any further delay the peace process, and to start negotiations with the Government.

Members of the Council paid tribute to the African Union for the deployment of observers and encouraged the deployment, without further delay, of the forces of the African Mission. In this connection, they called the international community to mobilize the necessary funds in order to allow the deployment of the African Mission when the necessary costings are available.

Members of the Council urged donors to support the economy of Burundi, to honour the engagements taken at the Paris and Geneva Conferences, and to provide as a matter of utmost urgency budgetary and balance of payments support to the Government of Burundi, and to contribute generously to the transitional debt relief fund.

Members of the Council expressed their support to the efforts for facilitation and to the regional initiative aimed to allow a return of peace to Burundi.

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