Press Releases

         25 April 2005

    Secretary-General, in Message to Regional Summit, Calls on Burundi’s Leaders to Take Last Step Towards Meeting Aspirations of Their People

    He Pledges Continued United Nations Support for Electoral Process

    NEW YORK, 22 April (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the text of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s message to the Summit Meeting on the Regional Initiative on Burundi, in Entebbe, as delivered by Carolyn McAskie, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Burundi, 22 April:

    I regret that I could not be with you in person for this important meeting.  As you come together to consider the extension of the transitional period in Burundi, allow me to convey my deep appreciation for the critical role played by the Chairman and members of the Regional Initiative for Peace in Burundi, as well as by the Facilitation.  Thanks to your courageous efforts, the peace process in this country is approaching what we hope will be its final stages, despite recurring delays.  I now call on Burundi’s leaders to take that last step towards meeting the aspirations of the Burundian people, who deserve nothing less than a democratically elected Government, committed to peace, stability and development.

    In that context, let me assure you that the United Nations will continue to do everything possible to support the electoral process.  As long as the Burundian parties continue to demonstrate the necessary political will, I am confident that a credible electoral exercise can be completed within the short time remaining.  My gratitude also goes to the donors who have helped to ensure sufficient funding.  To assist you in your deliberations, my Special Representative will provide you with an overview of how the United Nations sees the process unfolding.

    We can draw encouragement from the fact that the Burundian parties continue to consult peacefully, and from the progress achieved on several aspects of the peace process, including security sector reform.  However, a number of key elements of the Arusha Peace and Reconciliation Agreement have yet to be completed.  As guarantors of the peace process, members of the Regional Initiative may wish to consider what mechanism should succeed the Implementation Monitoring Committee, whose mandate will expire, along with other transitional institutions, upon election of a new Government.  My Special Representative would be pleased to share with you some thoughts on how the international community can support the newly-elected Government.

    Together, the Regional Initiative and the United Nations can continue to support Burundi on the road to long-term peace and stability, and in its efforts to play a productive role in the region.  In that spirit, I wish you a most successful meeting. 

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