Security Council meeting 3695

Date30 August 1996
S-PV-3695 1996-08-30 15:00 30 August 1996 [[30 August]] [[1996]] /

The situation in Burundi Report of the Secretary-General on the situation in Burundi (S/1996/660)

The meeting was called to order at 3.10 p.m.

Adoption of the agenda

The agenda was adopted.

The situation in Burundi

Report of the Secretary-General on the situation in Burundi (S/1996/660)
The President

In accordance with the decisions taken by the Council at its 3692nd meeting on this item, I invite the representative of Burundi to take a seat at the Council table; I invite the representatives of Australia, Belgium, Canada, Ethiopia, Ireland, Japan, South Africa, Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania to take the seats reserved for them at the side of the Council Chamber.

At the invitation of the President, Mr. Nsanze (Burundi) took a seat at the Council table; Mr. Rowe (Australia), Mr. Wouters (Belgium), Mr. Karsgaard (Canada), Mr. Mohammed (Ethiopia), Mr. Murphy (Ireland), Mr. Konishi (Japan), Mr. Jele (South Africa), Mr. Mukasa-Ssali (Uganda) and Mr. Nkurlu (United Republic of Tanzania) took the seats reserved for them at the side of the Council Chamber.
The President

The Security Council will now resume its consideration of the item on its agenda, which was begun at the 3692nd meeting, held on 28 August 1996. The Security Council is meeting in accordance with the understanding reached in its prior consultations.

Members of the Council have before them document S/1996/708, which contains the text of a draft resolution submitted by Botswana, Chile, Egypt, Germany, Guinea-Bissau, Honduras, Indonesia, Republic of Korea, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America. The Russian Federation has joined as a sponsor of the draft resolution.

It is my understanding that the Council is ready to proceed to the vote on the draft resolution before it. Unless I hear any objection, I shall put the draft resolution to the vote.

There being no objection, it is so decided.

I shall first call on those members of the Council who wish to make statements before the voting.

Mr. Larraín (Chile)

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the sponsors of the draft resolution that we will be adopting today: Botswana, Egypt, Germany, Guinea-Bissau, Honduras, Indonesia, the Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the United States of America and Chile.

The draft resolution that we will be adopting by consensus today reflects the position of the Security Council: united in support of the goal of helping Burundi reach a comprehensive political settlement with the participation of the entire international community.

It also reflects an unequivocal stand to lend the strongest support to regional leaders, to the Arusha agreements of 31 July and to the Organization of African Unity. In particular, we are lending our strongest support to former President Julius Nyerere in his laudable efforts to assist Burundi to overcome peacefully the crisis it is undergoing.

The Security Council declares its readiness to support Burundi if its leaders set out on the path to peace, political negotiation and reconciliation through international cooperation and other initiatives.

It also indicates with unwavering resolve that if within 60 days, those leaders have not initiated the necessary negotiations to bring about a comprehensive political settlement, the Council will then consider the imposition of measures under the Charter, including an arms embargo and other measures targeted against the leaders of the regime and of the factions that continue to promote violence and to stand in the way of a peaceful solution. In that case, the measures will meet objective criteria based on the information submitted to us by the Secretary-General.

This draft resolution also expresses the consensus in the Council that the present crisis should not exacerbate the humanitarian suffering of the population of that country, and it mentions the need to ensure that humanitarian corridors are established so that all in Burundi may have access to assistance. As can be noted, together with the hope that that country will once again take the path of political negotiation, we are moved by a strong concern over the humanitarian situation of the population and of those who are working with them to alleviate their suffering.

The draft resolution unambiguously condemns the use of force and violence in Burundi, both in the overthrow of the legitimate Government and in the resort to violence by the parties to attain their political objectives. We are also calling on the regime to bring about a return to constitutional order and legality, to restore the National Assembly and to lift the ban on all political parties.

The Security Council will meet again on 31 October to assess the situation. It is the sincere hope of the sponsors — and of the international community — that that meeting will serve to support the negotiations that should by then have begun in Burundi. But if that is not the case, let there be no doubt that we shall proceed to consider whatever measures may be deemed appropriate to achieve the initiation of those negotiations.

The President

I now put to the vote the draft resolution contained in document S/1996/708.

favour against
abstain absent

favour=15 against=0 abstain=0 absent=0

Botswana, Chile, China, Egypt, France, Germany, Guinea-Bissau, Honduras, Indonesia, Italy, Poland, Republic of Korea, Russia, United Kingdom, United States

The President

There were 15 votes in favour. The draft resolution has been adopted unanimously as resolution 1072 (1996).

I shall now call on those members of the Council who wish to make statements following the voting.

Mr. Ladsous (France)

The French delegation voted in favour of the resolution just adopted by the Council. I wish to point out that France welcomed the steps taken by the authors of the draft from the time it was first submitted to the Council. Indeed, this draft reiterated a number of concerns that had been previously expressed, in particular by the European Union in its statement of 19 August last.

France has been expressing these concerns directly to Major Buyoya since 25 July, emphasizing certain points: first of all, that a dialogue should be organized very quickly that would bring together all the political forces, bar none, in order to negotiate an institutional and democratic consensus; and, secondly, that political votes of confidence should be given very rapidly to all the political elements in the country, that commitments to respect human rights must be made, and that the major State bodies and institutions must be gradually but very concretely opened up to all ethnic groups. Only a political solution can settle the crisis in Burundi, because any explosion of violence would almost inevitably lead to external intervention.

In the immediate future, the Army’s behaviour must be beyond reproach, and security guarantees must be given to the former leaders, deputies and members of FRODEBU. As all the problems affecting the region require a comprehensive settlement, it is important and urgent that a conference be held under the auspices of the United Nations, and in cooperation with the Organization of African Unity (OAU), that would deal in a lasting manner with the crises in the Great Lakes region.

The recent resumption of dialogue between Major Buyoya and former President Nyerere is an initial encouraging response to the requests made by the international community. This first step must be followed by other concrete measures, which are set out in the resolution the Council has just adopted, in particular, the prompt opening of negotiations between all the parties, without exception. That is why the French delegation approved of the idea that the Council should reconsider this item within 60 days, and if this last requirement is not met, that it could consider the implementation of binding measures. It seems important to us that such measures, if we must resort to them, be defined in such a way as not to increase the suffering of the population, but, rather, to help stem violence and punish those responsible for such violence.

Regarding measures taken by the countries in the region at the Arusha meeting on 31 July, my delegation wishes to reiterate the grave concern it has already expressed — concern shared by our partners in the European Union and by many international humanitarian organizations — over their humanitarian impact, especially on the most disadvantaged sectors of the population. This question should be carefully considered on an urgent basis. It is essential, in particular, to allow international and non-governmental organizations to continue their work in favour of these sectors.

Mr. Fulci (Italy)

Italy voted in favour of the resolution because in matters such as the Burundi crisis, it is essential that the country show unanimity. But I would be remiss if, on this occasion, I did not call the Council’s attention to document S/1996/673 of 19 August 1996, which contains a letter from the Irish Presidency of the European Union and the Presidency declaration, on behalf of the Union, on Burundi. Allow me simply to quote the two main paragraphs of that declaration:

“The European Union wishes to express its support for the regional leaders, the Organization of African Unity and the former President of the United Republic of Tanzania, Mr. Julius Nyerere, in the efforts that they have been making to assist Burundi to peacefully overcome the grave crisis it is experiencing and encourages them to continue in their efforts to facilitate the search for a political solution.

“The European Union considers it essential that a dialogue be organized without delay, bringing together all of Burundi’s political forces, without exception, including representatives of civil society, in order to negotiate a democratic institutional consensus and ensuring security for all.”

This is the second time in one month that the Security Council has expressed its clear position on the coup d’état in Burundi. We have fully subscribed to this position. We believe that now the time has come to replace confrontation with dialogue, dialogue of all with all, and to see what fruits this will produce. Therefore, Italy appeals to all the parties in Burundi to exercise restraint and to show a really constructive attitude, in order to put the country back on the track of democracy, national reconciliation, economic reconstruction and development, without which there can be no lasting peace.

The President

The representative of Burundi has asked to speak and I now call on him.

Mr. Nsanze (Burundi)

I can assure the Security Council in advance that I will not tax its patience or abuse its generosity, but when a delegation requests to speak, it is because it knows better than anyone what the problem is.

The Security Council’s fervent attachment to saving Burundi calls for its people and its Government to pay a stirring tribute to the Council. Nevertheless, the stakes for Burundi are immeasurably immense. For these fundamental reasons, it is incumbent on my delegation to work closely and at all levels with the honourable members of this learned body. The efforts made by the Security Council in favour of Burundi are edifying.

On behalf of my Government, it is my duty to convey to the honourable President of the Security Council and to all the eminent members of this body the gratitude they deserve for the continuous concern they have displayed for three years now for the cause of my beloved country. Special recognition is deserved by Ambassador Juan Somavía and his delegation, as the architects of the main foundation of the resolution just adopted. All his colleagues representing the Non-Aligned Movement in the Security Council have distinguished themselves by their sense of responsibility and by their openness to concessions, and thanks to their openness to compromise, a reasonable outcome has been achieved.

The clearly realistic position of the European Union and 14 other European countries, as reflected in the statement made by the representative of Ireland is deeply appreciated by my country and my Government.

The new regime not only is receptive to the very well-founded appeals of the Security Council, but it is prepared to initiate a set of measures aimed at implementing the provisions of this resolution which are compatible — and I emphasize compatible — with the sacred and supreme interests of Burundi as a nation and in keeping with the Organization of African Unity (OAU) Charter and the United Nations Charter. Those measures include, in particular, the initiation of a democratic process adapted to national needs and talks with all groups that agree to participate in the patriotic task required to save the people of Burundi from another genocide and to ensure the safety not of just one ethnic group but of the nation of Burundi as a whole. Our colleague, Ambassador Ladsous just referred to multi-ethnicity. In fact, that concept has been artificially created by mediocre politicians because the very high degree of human integration achieved by the nation of Burundi has been shattered by the work of politicians who, instead of using their personal and professional skills for political objectives, use ethnicity as a way to attain selfish goals.

Finally, the Burundi Government will apply itself and commit itself to a relentless fight against the armed bands and militias of all stripes, to put an end to the cycle of violence and scorched- earth politics, whoever the perpetrators might be. This is a necessary condition for the new regime to eradicate all the causes of the national tragedy. This Herculean task cannot be accomplished quickly.

In this context, the current authorities in Burundi are counting on the patience and indulgence of the Security Council, as this gigantic enterprise will no doubt be marked by a series of obstacles. The arbitrary economic sanctions imposed on Burundi are an enormous stumbling-block in the way of the general national stabilization programme of the Government. Indeed, geographically land-locked, diplomatically encircled and economically strangled, Burundi finds it impossible to meet fully and quickly all the conditions imposed by the resolution.

This colossal stumbling-block placed in front of the new regime leads me to point out the major defects of the resolution. The first is the absence of express condemnation of the economic blockade decreed against Burundi. The second is the at least temporary refusal to establish an ad hoc commission to be dispatched to the Great Lakes region to gather objective and legitimate facts related to all the problems of the region. The last is the sword of Damocles in the form of threats against erroneous targets, especially the threat of an arms embargo: one cannot penalize the new regime, much less the people of Burundi, for crimes perpetrated by outlaws.

What emerges from this state of affairs is that the Security Council resolution may, from the moment of its adoption, be destined to be hamstrung because of these serious factors. We are counting on the assistance of the Security Council to bypass or remove the stumbling-blocks I have enumerated.

The President

There are no further speakers. The Security Council has thus concluded the present stage of its consideration of the item on its agenda.

The meeting rose at 3.35 p.m.
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