Press Releases

                                                                                                                            24 May 2004

    Secretary-General Welcomes Security Council Decision to Establish UN Operation in Burundi

    NEW YORK, 21 May (UN Headquarters) -- The following statement was issued today by the Spokesman for Secretary-General Kofi Annan:

    The Secretary-General welcomes the decision taken by the Security Council to establish the United Nations Operation in Burundi (ONUB).  This decision opens a new chapter in the Burundi peace process.  It is his intention to formally establish ONUB on 1 June, at which time the troops of the African Mission in Burundi (AMIB) will also be re-hatted as United Nations troops.

    The Secretary-General commends the people of Burundi for making decisive efforts to advance the Arusha peace process, and calls on all of them and their leaders to take advantage of this unique opportunity to further pursue national reconciliation and facilitate the preparation of national elections.  He also calls on the FNL (Rwasa), to sign a ceasefire agreement and join the peace process without further delay.

    While the success of ONUB will depend on the political will of the Burundi parties, the Secretary-General encourages donor countries to respond generously and to complement the efforts of the new peacekeeping operation, especially in the areas of security sector reform, good governance, preparation of elections, reintegration of ex-combatants, and economic development.

    The achievements towards the road to peace in Burundi could not have been accomplished without the indispensable role played by Uganda as Chairman of the Regional Initiative, South Africa as the Facilitation, and Tanzania, in creating the environment necessary to implement the Arusha Agreement.  His Special Representative, Berhanu Dinka, and the United Nations Office in Burundi have also made significant contributions to the peace process in the country.

    The unwavering support provided by the African Union through its dispatch of AMIB should also be duly acknowledged.  The Secretary-General thanks the Governments of Ethiopia, Mozambique and South Africa for contributing troops to this African Operation, and looks forward to working closely with them in the context of the United Nations Mission.  Needless to say, he is also grateful to all donors and humanitarian organizations, which have generously supported the process for many years.

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