The situation in Burundi.
|(The Presidency changes each month to the next member in alphabetical order)
|Mr. Wang Yingfan
Adoption of the agenda
The situation in Burundi
In accordance with the understanding reached in the Council’s prior consultations, and in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Charter and rule 37 of the Council’s provisional rules of procedure, I invite The Honourable James Wapakhabulo, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Uganda and Chairman of the Regional Peace Initiative on Burundi; Mr. Térence Sinunguruza, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Burundi; Mr. Léonard She Okitundu, Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Democratic Republic of the Congo; the representatives of Ethiopia and Kenya; Mr. Patrick Mazimhaka, Special Envoy of the President of Rwanda; The Honourable Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the United Republic of Tanzania; the representative of Gabon; Mr. Hackman Owusu-Agyemang, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ghana; the representatives of Nigeria and South Africa; and The Honourable Keli S. Walubita, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Zambia, to take seats at the Council table.
In accordance with the understanding reached in the Council’s prior consultations and rule 39 of the Council’s provisional rules of procedure, I invite Mr. Berhanu Dinka, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the Great Lakes Region and Chairman of the Implementation Monitoring Committee, to take a seat at the Council table.
In accordance with the understanding reached in the Council’s prior consultations and rule 39 of the Council’s provisional rules of procedure, I invite Mr. Amadou Kébé, Permanent Observer for the Organization of African Unity, to take a seat at the side of the Council Chamber.
The Security Council will now begin its consideration of the item on its agenda. The Council is meeting in accordance with the understanding reached in its prior consultations.
I shall now give the floor to Mr. Berhanu Dinka, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the Great Lakes Region and Chairman of the Implementation Monitoring Committee.
As the Security Council is aware, on 1 November 2001, the Transitional Government of National Unity was inaugurated in Burundi. That solemn occasion was witnessed by the Presidents of the United Republic of Tanzania, Nigeria, Zambia, Malawi and Rwanda, as well as by the facilitator of the Burundi peace process, Nelson Mandela, the Deputy Presidents of South Africa and Uganda and the Secretary General of the Organization of African Unity (OAU). I represented the Secretary-General of the United Nations, and the European Union was represented by its Special Representative for the Great Lakes region, Mr. Aldo Aiello. A number of other African States were represented at the ministerial level.
During the week leading up to the main event, important preparatory measures were undertaken. On 27 October, the National Assembly adopted a transitional constitution, which will guide the work of the Transitional Government during the coming three years. The first group of the special protection unit has arrived from South Africa. A number of political leaders have returned from exile to participate in the new Government.
The inauguration of the Transitional Government constitutes a significant step in the implementation of the Arusha Peace and Reconciliation Agreement. The momentum created by that event should be built upon in order to consolidate and render irreversible the hard-won gains. The people of Burundi, as well as the friends of Burundi and all those who supported or participated in the peace process, are hopeful that the installation of the Transitional Government will usher in a new and historic era of reconciliation, tolerance and peace. It is now up to the Burundian political leaders, with support from the region and from the international community at large, to ensure the success of the transitional institutions. That is the only way that durable peace and stability can be guaranteed. Failure is not an option.
In his statement at the inauguration, President Buyoya set out the priorities of the Transitional Government. They are: ceasefire negotiations, commune-level council elections, repatriation of refugees, rebuilding of infrastructure, reform of the security and judicial systems, et cetera. He appealed to the countries of the subregion, the facilitation and the international community to continue to assist, so that those priorities can be achieved. He indicated that his Government would approach the Security Council in due course to create an international judicial commission of inquiry to investigate possible cases of genocide, war crimes and other crimes against humanity, while his Government would set up a national truth and reconciliation commission as provided for by the Arusha Agreement.
The facilitator, Madiba Nelson Mandela, has announced that his task as facilitator has now been completed, and that he is now “passing the baton” to the Implementation Monitoring Committee (IMC). He will, however, continue to serve as moral guarantor of the Arusha Agreement, and will be represented on the IMC. We are all grateful to him.
What has been achieved so far would not have been possible without the initiative of the leaders of the subregion, the relentless efforts deployed in turn by two of Africa’s most renowned statesmen — the late Mwalimu Julius Nyerere and Madiba Nelson Mandela — and the generous support and encouragement of the international community. As a result there is today strong reason for cautious optimism.
But we must not lose sight of the fact that there are unfinished and challenging tasks ahead. First among them is the issue of the ceasefire, because so long as violence persists the peace process will remain fragile. The two armed groups — the Forces pour la Défense de la Démocratie (FDD) and the Forces Nationales de Libération (FNL) — have stepped up pressure against Government forces in recent days. The two armed groups must realize, and the international community must send them a clear signal, that the time has now come for them to put down their arms and without delay join their compatriots in the search for durable peace in Burundi; that it is time to put an end to the killing, to the suffering of innocent people and to the devastation of the country; that it is time to reconcile and to move the country on towards much-needed reconstruction and development.
There are other challenges as well. As members may recall, the decision to deploy a regional force in Burundi was necessitated by the fact that an all-Burundian special protection unit could not be trained before 1 November. Consequently, it was decided that, pending the completion of training by Burundians coming from the army and from the G-7 group of parties, troops from South Africa, Ghana, Nigeria and Senegal should provide protection to political leaders returning from exile. The presence of the regional force, therefore, is only a stopgap measure. The training of an all-Burundian special protection force which will take over from the regional force remains a priority.
The regional force which is already in place in Burundi has the capacity to carry out the task of protecting returning politicians while at the same time undertaking the task of training. There is, however, an urgent need for the international community to provide the force with the financial and material resources it needs to accomplish its dual mandate. The deployment of foreign forces, even when they are from the region, requires a significant resource outlay. The only way to bring down costs and at the same time ensure the long-term success of the transitional arrangement is immediately to initiate the training of a national protection unit with a view to replacing the regional force with an all-Burundian special protection unit as soon as possible.
The other major challenge that must be tackled on a priority basis is the reconstruction and development of the country. Now that the Transitional Government is in place, the Burundian population, which has been suffering for years, should be made to see in a concrete way that what happened last week was more than a power-sharing arrangement among the country’s political elite. The only way to ensure that the population of Burundi continues to support the peace process long after the current euphoria of the moment has worn off is if their lives are positively affected by the changes. It is imperative that there be a peace dividend. The international community can bring that about by resuming in a significant way its socio-economic development cooperation and enhancing its humanitarian assistance, qualitatively and quantitatively.
The international community has supported the Burundi peace process since its inception. The installation of the Transitional Government on 1 November has created an even more propitious atmosphere for that support and cooperation not only to continue but also to expand. The Security Council may therefore wish to consider calling on the two armed groups — the FDD and the FNL — to engage the new Government in serious negotiations and to conclude a ceasefire agreement without delay; expressing support for the regional special protection unit already in Bujumbura and calling on all Burundian parties to cooperate with it to enable the contingent to carry out its tasks freely, expeditiously and without any hindrance; urging strongly all those in a position to do so, particularly the donor community, to stay the course and to provide adequate financial resources to enable the regional special protection unit successfully to carry out its double mandate of providing protection and training a Burundian special protection unit; calling on all the Burundian signatory parties to respect the independence of and cooperate fully with the IMC in the discharge of its mandate under the Arusha Agreement; and calling on donor countries and institutions to release all resources that have been destined for Burundi’s socio-economic development but that remain undisbursed so far, including those resources pledged in Paris in December of last year.
That would go a long way in assisting the Transitional Government of Burundi to consolidate the peace process by responding to the needs of its people. Donors should also be urged to enhance their humanitarian assistance to Burundi.
I should like to inform the Council that I have received a letter from the representative of Senegal, in which he requests to be invited to participate in the discussion of the item on the Council’s agenda. In conformity with the usual practice, I propose, with the consent of the Council, to invite that representative to participate in the discussion, without the right to vote, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Charter and rule 37 of the Council’s provisional rules of procedure.
There being no objection, it is so decided.
I call now on the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Uganda, The Honourable James W. Wapakhabulo, Chairman of the Regional Peace Initiative on Burundi.
On behalf of the regional ministerial representatives on the Regional Peace Initiative on Burundi, I congratulate you, Madam President, on your assumption of the presidency of the Security Council for this month. Let me also thank your predecessor, the Permanent Representative of Ireland, for his leadership during his presidency of the Council last month. I wish you, Madam President, and all the other members of the Council, successful deliberations on this and all the other issues on the Council’s agenda.
The conflict in Burundi has been on the Council’s agenda for some time now. I salute the Council for its partnership with the Great Lakes Regional Initiative in the search for a permanent solution to the conflict in Burundi. Indeed, the forum accorded to us today is a clear demonstration that the Security Council continues to be an ally as it executes its Charter responsibility of ensuring international peace and security.
Former President Nelson Mandela of South Africa, the facilitator of the Burundi peace negotiations, may be making a presentation to the Council on the peace process at some later date. However, allow me to update the Council on the recent developments resulting from the Regional Initiative on Burundi.
Nineteen Burundian political parties signed on 28 August 2000 the Arusha Peace and Reconciliation Agreement, which provides for a three-year Transitional Government. The Transitional Government was successfully inaugurated on 1 November this year. President Buyoya will be the leader for the first 18 months, deputized by Mr. Domitien Ndayizeye of the G7-Hutu alliance parties, and the reverse will apply for the next 18 months of the transition, although personalities may change. There will also be a pro rata power sharing arrangement in the Cabinet, Parliament, army and other State institutions.
The swearing in of the Transitional Government in Burundi on 1 November this year will go down in the annals of African history as the day of the first step towards tangible peace in Burundi. For us in the region it is significant that our initiative and efforts have been able to bear fruit. I congratulate the people of Burundi on their commitment and determination to find a peaceful solution of the conflict in their country.
The region wishes to pay special tribute to the late Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, who set the course for the negotiations, and to his successor, Nelson Mandela, for his extraordinary resolve and leadership in facilitating peace negotiations in Burundi. We commend them for a job well done.
The contribution of the United Nations and the international community to the peace process cannot be overemphasized. We particularly acknowledge the European Union for the financial support it has given so far.
However, there should be no celebrations yet. The daunting challenge is to consolidate what has been achieved so far and to ensure further progress by supporting the Transitional Government during this delicate phase of implementing the Arusha Peace and Reconciliation Agreement.
As the Council will appreciate, one bit of unfinished business relates to the participation of the Burundian armed opposition, namely, the Conseil national pour la défense de la démocratie (CNDD)/Front for la défense de la démocratie (FDD) and the Pelipehutu Forces nationales pour la libération (FNL). These armed groups did not participate in the negotiations that led to the August 2000 Agreement and have not agreed to a ceasefire. The position of the region is that negotiations, facilitated by President Omar Bongo of Gabon and Deputy President Jacob Zuma of South Africa will continue between the Transitional Government and the armed opposition.
We call upon the Security Council as a whole and individual members of the Council to bring their influence to bear on these groups so that they agree to take part in ceasefire negotiations. We assure the Security Council that we are prepared to work with it to bring the armed groups into the peace process, and we are also prepared to take the necessary measures should the CNDD/FDD and the Pelipehutu FNL remain intransigent in the peace process for Burundi.
The other major challenges during the implementation phase relate to the formation of a new national army, Parliament and other institutions of the transition. The Transitional Government and the Implementation Monitoring Committee for the Arusha Peace Agreement will need continuous support and encouragement from the Council.
The link between the conflicts in Burundi and in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has hitherto been a complicating factor in the search for peace in the Great Lakes region. For the first time the prospects of a ceasefire in Burundi bring us closer to an opportunity to turn the negative forces in the Democratic Republic of the Congo into positive forces in Burundi and reduce the magnitude of the task for the third phase of the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the imminent disarmament, demobilization, reintegration, repatriation, or resettlement exercise in that country.
According to the Arusha Peace and Reconciliation Agreement, it is envisaged that the Security Council will mandate a peacekeeping force in Burundi. However, the regional leaders agreed that, while they were awaiting a resolution of the Council mandating the deployment of a peacekeeping force, a regional force should be formed and deployed for various functions entailed in the Agreement. In this respect, a special protection unit to protect political leaders has already been deployed in Burundi. We take this opportunity to thank the Republic of South Africa for offering 700 of its troops, who are already on the ground in Burundi. Troops from Nigeria, Ghana and Senegal are expected to follow. All this demonstrates the seriousness of the region about seeing to it that the conflict is finally put to rest. Regional arrangements will, however, need to be buttressed by the United Nations, especially during this delicate phase.
In conclusion, we have a Transitional Government in Bujumbura. But let us have no illusion about the peace process in Burundi. The challenge of sustaining the achievements of the Arusha process remains. It is extremely important that a ceasefire be urgently put in place in Burundi in order to allow for the deployment of a United Nations peacekeeping force under Chapter VII of the Charter and the involvement of the armed groups — FDD and FNL — in the power-sharing arrangement. We therefore call upon the Security Council and its individual members to positively and actively support the second track of the Regional Initiative under President Bongo of Gabon and Deputy President Jacob Zuma of South Africa for a ceasefire agreement in Burundi.
Secondly, we ask the Security Council to send a strong message that it is prepared to commit an adequate United Nations peacekeeping force as soon as a ceasefire is in place in Burundi.
Thirdly, we call on the United Nations and the international community to mobilize the necessary resources for humanitarian assistance and economic recovery in support of the peace process in Burundi. It is important that the Transitional Government should receive adequate assistance to enable it to provide social services and to handle the return and resettlement of refugees and internally displaced persons.
I thank the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Uganda for his kind words addressed to me.
I shall now make a statement as President of the Security Council.
It is my honour to welcome to the Security Council the members of the Regional Peace Initiative on Burundi. I extend a cordial welcome on behalf of the members of the Security Council to the ministers and representatives of Uganda, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, the United Republic of Tanzania and Zambia, as well as to the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the Great Lakes Region and Chairman of the Implementation Monitoring Committee and to the Permanent Observer of the Organization of African Unity.
Let me in the first instance express appreciation to Ambassador Jean-David Levitte of France, whose idea it was to convene such a dialogue, which was unable to be held as planned due to the events of 11 September.
The meeting of the Regional Peace Initiative on Burundi with the Security Council today is a momentous one. On 1 November, the Transitional Government of National Unity in Burundi was inaugurated. This is indeed a defining period in the history of Burundi and its long suffering people. To all of us, the establishment of the Transitional Government is a significant milestone, as it ushers in a new political dispensation within the country. We would like to congratulate President Buyoya, Vice-President Domitien Ndayizeye and all other members of the Transitional Government and wish them every success in charting a new path for the Burundian people.
We pay special tribute to the facilitator, Madiba Nelson Mandela, the regional leaders and the Burundian parties for their untiring efforts in making the Transitional Government a reality. They may rest assured that the Security Council remains committed to the process of peace in Burundi and will remain actively engaged to ensure that the momentum gained so far will not be lost. Every effort must be made by the international community and the Security Council to ensure that what has been achieved so far is not eroded.
The main purpose of today’s meeting is to have an exchange of views on the implementation of the Arusha Peace and Reconciliation Agreement. The Security Council on its part has endeavoured to and will maintain a spirit of partnership with the Burundian peace process. The dialogue between the Security Council and the Regional Peace Initiative on Burundi attests to the will of the Council to remain actively engaged in the process.
We recall that, at our last meeting during the Security Council mission to the Great Lakes region, there were fruitful deliberations which ensued and which we hope to continue today. It is our hope that, emanating from our discussions today, we can ascertain how the United Nations can help in the post-transition period as the new Burundian Government addresses the many challenges which lie ahead. The most critical priority is the cessation of hostilities and for the armed groups to involve themselves in the political life of the country through dialogue and negotiations. We reiterate our call to the armed groups to cooperate with the Transitional Government in order to ensure its representation in the broad-based Government which is envisaged.
The Security Council is also fully supportive of the regional special protection force, which is aimed at protecting the returning political exiles. On October 29, the Security Council adopted resolution 1375 (2001) expressing its support for this initiative. It is therefore imperative that all parties cooperate to ensure that normalcy is returned to the country. We commend the Government of South Africa, which has taken the first step in deploying troops, and look forward to the subsequent deployment of troops from Senegal, Nigeria and Ghana.
The success of the transitional institutions is the only guarantee of durable peace and stability in Burundi. Failure, on the other hand, could result in chaos and continuing crisis in the Great Lakes region. Consequently, the support of the international community is critical.
Now that the Transitional Government is in place, attention must be paid to the deteriorating humanitarian and human rights situation in that country. Every effort must be made to revive the economic well-being of the people of Burundi by improving their socio-economic condition. The international community, including the Security Council stands, ready to assist in this regard.
We look forward to a more detailed discussion in the private meeting which follows.
In accordance with the understanding reached in our prior consultations, I shall now adjourn this meeting and invite the Council members and all invitees to attend the private meeting within the next five minutes.
May I invite the non-Council members to leave this Chamber so that we can proceed with our private meeting.