|Date||4 December 2003|
The situation in Burundi
|(The Presidency changes each month to the next member in alphabetical order)|
|Mr. Wang Guangya
|Mr. De La Sablière
|Mr. Boubacar Diallo
|Sir Emyr Jones Parry
Adoption of the agenda
The situation in Burundi
In accordance with the understanding reached in the Council’s prior consultations, and in the absence of objection, I shall take it that the Security Council agrees to extend an invitation under rule 37 of its provisional rules of procedure to His Excellency Mr. Jacob Zuma, Deputy President of South Africa.
There being no objection, it is so decided.
On behalf of the Council, I welcome His Excellency Mr. Jacob Zuma, Deputy President of South Africa.
I should like to inform the members of the Council that I have received a letter from the representative of Burundi, 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.
In accordance with the understanding reached in the Council’s prior consultations, and in the absence of objection, I shall take it that the Security Council agrees to extend an invitation under rule 39 of its provisional rules of procedure to His Excellency Mr. Gert Rosenthal, President of the Economic and Social Council.
There being no objection, it is so decided.
I invite Mr. Gert Rosenthal to take a seat at the Council table.
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 give the floor to His Excellency Mr. Jacob Zuma, Deputy President of South Africa.
Thank you very much, Mr. President, for affording me the honour of once again addressing the Security Council. It has been exactly one year since I was last afforded this privilege, having made a presentation to the Security Council on 4 December last year.
The twentieth summit of the Great Lakes Regional Peace Initiative on Burundi, which was held on 16 November 2003 in Tanzania under the leadership of President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, Chairperson of the Regional Initiative on Burundi, and President Joaquim Chissano, Chairperson of the African Union, has mandated me, as facilitator, to report to the Security Council again and to request urgent direct assistance for the Burundi peace process. That assistance will help to consolidate the gains already made, prepare the ground for successful democratic elections in 11 months’ time and firmly place Burundi on the road to lasting peace and stability.
We are pleased to report that tremendous progress has been made over the past year, and that we are ending 2003 on a positive note due to the significant developments that have taken place. Those have included the establishment of the African mission in Burundi, the conclusion of outstanding negotiations and the implementation of various agreements, including with regard to power-sharing and the transformation of the security apparatus.
The African mission, which was just a concept at this time last year, was successfully established in March 2003, and has worked tirelessly to fulfil its mandate. It was founded in terms of a decision of the nineteenth Summit Meeting of the Heads of State and Government of the Regional Peace Initiative on Burundi, which was held in Tanzania in December 2002. The establishment of the African mission was, in our view, in line with Chapter VIII of the Charter of the United Nations, which supports the establishment of regional initiatives for the resolution of conflicts, provided such arrangements are consistent with the purposes and principles of the United Nations.
Reference is also made to such initiatives in Chapter VI, which provides for the use of regional initiatives for the resolution of disputes without the active, direct involvement — but with the full support — of the United Nations.
The objectives of the African Mission are to oversee the implementation of the ceasefire agreements — a task it continues to undertake effectively, to our satisfaction; to support the disarmament and demobilization initiatives and advise on the reintegration of ex-combatants — a task it has begun to execute efficiently, as will be reported on in this presentation; to contribute to political and economic stability in Burundi — a responsibility it has executed exceptionally — in assisting the implementation of all agreements and preparing the groundwork for the social and economic reconstruction of Burundi; and to work to achieve conditions that are favourable for the establishment of a United Nations peacekeeping mission — again, a task executed professionally and successfully — leading to our presence here today to say that the time has come for the United Nations to become actively involved.
The African Mission is headed by Ambassador Bah, the Special Representative of the African Union in Burundi, who is assisted by three deputies from South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda. It integrates a military component, under the command of Major-General Sipho Binda of South Africa, comprising contingents from Mozambique, Ethiopia and South Africa. It also has a military observer component of 43 members from Burkina Faso, Gabon, Mali, Togo and Tunisia. The Joint Ceasefire Commission of the African Mission in Burundi is led by General Alioune Samba, of the United Nations. As of the end of November, the total strength of the force stood at 2,656 men and women. The Mission is widely regarded as a shining example and model of African solutions to continental security challenges.
With regard to ceasefire agreements, in my report last year, I indicated that at the signing of the agreement between the Conseil national pour la défense de la démocratie — Forces pour la défense de la démocratie (CNDD-FDD) of Mr. Nkurunziza and the Transitional Government, certain outstanding issues still needed to be negotiated. They included the participation of the former armed movements in the transitional institutions of the State and Parliament, as well as issues relating to disarmament and demobilization and the building of a new inclusive security apparatus in Burundi. The negotiations on those issues have been successfully concluded, leading to the signing of the two Pretoria Protocols of 8 October and 2 November 2003 and the comprehensive ceasefire agreement signed in Dar es Salaam on 16 November 2003, which was a consolidation of all agreements between the CNDD-FDD of Mr. Nkurunziza and the Transitional Government.
It is important to emphasize that since the signing of the first Pretoria Protocol between the Burundi Government and the CNDD-FDD on 8 October 2003, the level of violence was reduced drastically, bringing peace to at least 95 per cent of the territory of Burundi. The celebrations by Burundian refugees during the signing of the comprehensive agreement in Dar es Salaam was to us an indication of the genuine desire for peace of the people of Burundi.
We can therefore say without fear of contradiction that the Burundi peace process has entered a decisive and irreversible stage. This is more so because the implementation of all the ceasefire agreements and the Pretoria Protocols has been swift, and change is evident. Those developments have significantly boosted the implementation of the Arusha Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation of August 2000, which guides the transitional period.
The Transitional Government now includes representatives of the three movements which have signed ceasefire agreements with the Transitional Government. Among the key new members of the Burundian cabinet is Mr. Pierre Nkurunziza, leader of the CNDD-FDD, who was recently appointed Senior Minister of State and Good Governance. Members of the CNDD-FDD who are to join transitional institutions have returned to Burundi, and Mr. Nkurunziza is expected to return to Bujumbura on Saturday. The return of Mr. Nkurunziza and his delegation to public life in Burundi is another critical milestone in the peace process.
Another practical demonstration of the commitment of the Burundians to peace was the smooth and proficient manner in which the presidential alternation took place in May this year. President Pierre Buyoya, from the Tutsi political family, vacated office and was replaced by President Domitien Ndayizeye, from the Hutu political family, in line with the Arusha Agreement of 2000. The country has therefore been consistently moving forward. It must also be noted that Burundi has successfully completed the first two thirds of the transition period, at the end of which — in 11 months — a democratically elected legislature and executive should be in place to replace transitional institutions.
We are of the view that because of these positive developments, Burundi is today closer to lasting peace than ever before in its 10 years of conflict.
The fact that the Parti pour la libération du peuple hutu — Forces nationales de libération (PALIPEHUTU-FNL) of Agathon Rwasa is currently outside the peace process is regrettable. However, that does not present an obstacle to the peace process, taking into account that the majority of parties are part of the process.
The November Summit issued a clear message to the FNL to join the peace process within three months. According to the Summit, after that deadline, or in case of a categorical refusal to join the negotiation process, the FNL would be considered an organization that is against peace and stability. The heads of State urged the support of that position by the United Nations and the international community as a whole in order to put pressure on the movement.
We appreciate the consistent public call made by the Security Council to the FNL over a period of time for that movement to join the peace process without delay. We note, for example, the 14 August 2003 statement by the President of the Security Council inviting member States of the Great Lakes region to use all their influence and pressure to compel the FNL to engage in peace talks.
The Summit mandated me to continue attempts to bring the FNL into the process. I have sent a communication to them and hope for a positive response. In my last meeting with them, last year, they reaffirmed their willingness to join the peace process but imposed pre-conditions. I shall continue to try to engage the movement, and I am still optimistic that a solution can be found.
While we celebrate the tremendous achievements of the past year, much work remains to be done. Burundi faces serious challenges in the weeks and months ahead. Part of that includes the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of returning combatants, as well as the return of refugees and internally displaced persons. The CNDD of Jean Bosco and the PALIPEHUTU-FNL of Alain Mugabarabona have begun to canton some of their combatants in the cantonment site at Muyange. They have indicated that they had more combatants who would be cantoned soon. The combatants of the CNDD-FDD of Pierre Nkurunziza are already proceeding to various assembly points to be cantoned. In early November, I took a CNDD-FDD delegation — led by its Secretary-General, Hussein Rajabu — to Burundi so that it could begin preparations for participation in the African mission. The visit once again indicated to the Burundian population that the peace process is moving forward. It is important to note that many refugees, mainly from Tanzania, began to move into Burundi on their own when the final agreements were signed. The mood is therefore one of optimism and great expectations.
The African mission, which is responsible for the cantonment and disarmament of the combatants prior to demobilization, requires resources to carry out its mandate effectively. And, most important, the African mission requires resources to maintain the African mission force. Very soon, the mission will be required to take full responsibility for the maintenance of the troops, as the period allocated for self-sustenance by the respective troop-contributing countries will come to an end. It is extremely urgent that financial resources be found without delay. I must emphasize that we appreciate the assistance pledged by the Security Council in the statement of 18 December last year — relating to, among other issues, facilitation of logistical assistance for the deployment of the African Mission — and the consistent calls for support from the donor community.
We wish to reiterate that the continued success of the Burundi peace process requires more direct United Nations involvement. The African Union, the Great Lakes Regional Initiative, the facilitation team, the African Mission and Burundian parties have made their contribution and have brought Burundi this far. The international community must now help to consolidate those positive gains.
We believe processes should now be put in place to look into how the United Nations can become actively and directly involved in the Burundi peace process. It is our well-considered view that conditions are now conducive for the United Nations to express its support and solidarity by taking over the African mission in Burundi, re-hatting the existing military contingent and deploying a United Nations peacekeeping operation. The other, more immediate, relief measure is to provide material, logistical and financial support to the African mission to enable it to continue with its work while preparations continue for more robust involvement on the part of the United Nations.
We should like to express once again our gratitude to the United Nations for the support it has provided thus far in many respects, including the invaluable contribution of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Burundi, Ambassador Berhanu Dinka. We hold the view that, for Africa to be at peace with itself, we should all work together to support nations that are moving towards peace and stability. We are humbled by the knowledge that the Security Council is fully behind that African position and that it has always been prepared to lend its full support so that we may achieve the noble objective of a peaceful and prosperous Africa.
I thank the Deputy President of South Africa for his comprehensive briefing and for his analysis of the situation in Burundi.
I now give the floor to Mr. Gert Rosenthal, President of the Economic and Social Council.
Mr. President, you have asked me to share with the Security Council the views of the Economic and Social Council on the latest developments in Burundi’s peace process. Of course, I cannot speak for all members of the Economic and Social Council, but there are three points that I can safely make in the broader context of the deepening cooperation between our respective Councils.
The first thing I should like to say is that Burundi appears to have all the makings of what the framers of the Economic and Social Council’s ad hoc advisory groups on African countries emerging from conflict surely had in mind. There is no doubt that the peace accords that are currently being implemented require tough decisions on the part of Burundians themselves, and that the steps already taken warrant — indeed, demand — international assistance.
Part of the needed assistance clearly falls within the purview of the Security Council, such as ensuring that the African Union mission peacekeepers either stay in place or are replaced by United Nations peacekeepers, or a combination of both, as put forward so eloquently by the Deputy President of South Africa.
Another part clearly falls within the purview of the Economic and Social Council, such as supporting the transition between rehabilitation and reconstruction, on the one hand, and longer-term development on the other. Among other aspects, I have in mind advocating for debt relief, budgetary support and the imperative of creating productive jobs.
A third part falls somewhere in between, including support in the area of demobilization, disarmament, reinsertion and reintegration of ex-combatants, and of humanitarian assistance to help in the resettlement of refugees and internally displaced persons. There is also the potential for a direct role for United Nations-based technical assistance — for example, in supporting the electoral process.
In other words, it is clear that the United Nations can play a wide-ranging role in supporting Burundi in an integrated manner.
A second point to be made is that — as is usually the case in countries emerging from conflict — peace is a prerequisite for reconstruction and development, while development is the principal ingredient in making sure that peace is durable. The immediate challenge in Burundi is to avoid slipping back into conflict. The larger challenge is to offer Burundians the possibility of a return to normalcy and an opportunity for a decent standard of living.
Finally, it is abundantly clear that the United Nations will not be the only — or even the principal — source of assistance. But we can play a catalytic role in working with bilateral and multilateral donors, non-governmental organizations and even the business sector in supporting the Burundians in their efforts to undo the immense damage they inflicted upon themselves and to strive towards a better future. We can advocate for a solid partnership between the international community and Burundians.
As I stated in this Chamber less than two weeks ago — when we met with the President of Guinea-Bissau — I believe that our mechanism of ad hoc groups on African countries emerging from conflict can make an important difference. Certainly Burundi offers us the possibility of demonstrating this proposition in a very decisive manner.
As there is no list of speakers, I invite those members of the Council who wish to take the floor to make comments or put questions to the Deputy President of South Africa or the President of the Economic and Social Council to so indicate to the Secretariat as of now.
I see that some delegations have done so.
I would like first of all to welcome Deputy President Zuma, and to extend to the South African authorities, in particular President Mbeki, our deep appreciation and gratitude for their exceptional efforts to ensure that Burundi returns to the path of stability and peace. Those efforts round out those made by the heads of State of Uganda and of Tanzania, as well as of many other actors involved in the regional initiative for Burundi.
France welcomes the agreements of 2 and 8 November. There is still much to be done. I am thinking, of course, about the Forces nationales de libération (FNL), which has still not joined the peace process. I took careful note of the comments made earlier by Deputy President Zuma with regard to the state of contacts with the FNL. Despite the commendable efforts of the South African authorities, little headway is being made. When Deputy President Zuma spoke about that issue, however, he did raise our hopes somewhat by saying that he looked to the future with optimism, despite the difficulties encountered.
Peace and stability in Burundi will, of course, also depend on an improvement in the economic and social situation in the country. At this time it is crucial for the international community to keep up its efforts and stay abreast of developments. In this regard it will be essential for the Economic and Social Council — and I pay tribute to its President, who spoke earlier — to fully play its role in the context of the donor’s conference, scheduled to take place in Brussels on 14 and 15 January.
Much progress has been made in the peace process in Burundi, and it must be further consolidated. France would be in favour, in principle, of a peacekeeping operation in Burundi. It seems to us necessary, in Burundi as elsewhere, for the international community to take over from and consolidate regional efforts, and to ensure an element of coherence in United Nations actions. Right now, however, we believe it essential that the international community be able to provide its full support for the efforts of the African Union. The European Union, for its part, is providing considerable support to that African organization in Burundi, with a contribution of 25 million euros.
We welcome the presence among us of the Deputy President of the Republic of South Africa, Mr. Jacob Zuma. We thank him for his briefing on the current situation in Burundi, prospects for peace in that country and the efforts deployed by the African countries with a view to bringing peace to Burundi.
The presence of Deputy President Jacob Zuma in the Security Council today is testimony to his country’s commitment and to his personal engagement in the search for a lasting solution to the conflict in Burundi. The role played by South Africa in the Burundian peace process has indeed been outstanding. By facilitating the inter-Burundian negotiations and by taking a leading role in the African Union mission, it has given continuity to the efforts of those Burundians committed to a peaceful settlement of the conflict.
The latest developments reflect the efforts deployed to put an end to a conflict that, in 10 years, left more than 100,000 people dead and resulted in hundreds of thousands of refugees and displaced persons.
In the framework of the United Nations, South Africa, by adding the advisory group of the Economic and Social Council on Burundi, is pushing the international community to look at Burundi beyond the conflict and to lay the foundations for sustained international assistance to the country. The recent visit of an Economic and Social Council assessment mission to Burundi is a demonstration of such commitment.
We regret the fact that the Nairobi negotiations between the Government and the National Liberation Forces (FNL) failed to produce the expected results. As the Security Council has done on a number of occasions, we also urged the FNL immediately to stop the hostilities and to enter into serious negotiations with the Transitional Government without further delay.
It is our view that the positive trend of events in Burundi will become sustainable only when the international community shows its unquestionable readiness to assist Burundi in facing the social and economic problems and other consequences derived from the armed conflict.
In this regard, the United Nations is called on to play a decisive role, together with the African Union, in the consolidation of peace and in post-conflict recovery and reconstruction.
The presence of the African Union reflects the important engagement of Africa in peace-building in Burundi, in accordance with the provisions of the United Nations Charter. Such a decisive step should therefore be complemented by the deployment of a United Nations mission, in due time, as foreseen in the Arusha Agreement, and, in this regard, we would like to call the attention of the Council to the need to apply equal standards to Burundi as in Liberia, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and, we hope — and as seems to be the case — in Côte d’Ivoire in the near future.
The Security Council has reaffirmed on various occasions its support for the African mission in Burundi; commended the progress it helped produce so far in the cantonment of rebel combatants; and called on all concerned to provide, as a matter of urgency, adequate financial and logistic assistance to the mission.
The African countries, and in particular South Africa, which are presently carrying the main burden of the peacekeeping operation in Burundi, have limited resources, and a sustained effort by the entire international community is needed to ensure the mission’s full operational capacity and its strengthening in order to meet the challenges that the Burundian peace process still faces.
It is agreed that a lasting solution for Burundi will depend in large measure on advances in its economic life. We welcome the willingness by the Bretton Woods institutions, the United Nations Development Programme and the European Union to assist Burundi in meeting its economic needs.
However, a matter of great concern is the very low rate of disbursement of the pledges made by the international community for the economic recovery and reconstruction of Burundi. Of the $981 million pledged, only 36 per cent has been effectively disbursed so far.
In our view, the most critical issues facing Burundi at the present time are: the unwillingness of the last rebel group, the FNL, to join the peace process; the need for financial and logistical support for the African mission deployment, and its further transformation into a United Nations operation; and sustained economic assistance to the Government of Burundi, allowing it to consolidate the peace process.
To end, I would like to say a word on the regional dimension of the conflict in the countries of the Great Lakes region. The advances in the peace processes in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and in Burundi have set the stage to move forward in the search for a comprehensive settlement of the problems in the region based on good-neighbourly relations, security and cooperation among all the countries in the region.
First of all, I would like to express our happiness at seeing Deputy President Zuma of South Africa grace the Security Council once again with his presence and to thank him for his eloquent presentation to the Council. We welcome the positive role which South Africa and in particular Deputy President Zuma have played in facilitating the peace process in Burundi.
I would also like to take this opportunity to note with appreciation the thoughtful statement which has been made here today by the President of the Economic and Social Council, Ambassador Gert Rosenthal.
Pakistan is encouraged by the recent positive developments in the Burundian peace process, especially the participation of the National Council for the Defence of Democracy-Forces for the Defence of Democracy (CNDD-FDD) in the Transitional Government’s power-sharing arrangement. We hope that an agreement will be reached soon which will open the way for the FNL to sign the ceasefire and join the peace process. We continue to urge all parties to abide by the Arusha Agreement.
Pakistan also supports the efforts of the African Union, particularly its peacekeeping mission. We endorse the appeal made by the Union, which was echoed here by Deputy President Zuma, for further logistical and financial support in order to enable it to fulfil its mandate — a mandate which the Council has supported in its resolution 1375 (2001).
We urge donor countries and organizations to provide the requisite assistance. The United Nations should also examine the possibility of contributing to peacekeeping efforts in Burundi, subject to the agreement of all parties. A joint peacekeeping effort by the United Nations and the African Union has also been mentioned as a possibility by Deputy President Zuma.
While these important steps are being taken towards strengthening peace in Burundi, we still have to deal with the human consequences of the conflict. Humanitarian problems, including in particular the problem of the repatriation and resettlement of refugees and internally displaced persons, and the issue of the cantonization and reintegration of armed fighters are among the issues that must urgently be addressed.
The situation in Burundi is complex and requires a comprehensive approach, not just in political terms but also in its social and economic dimensions. In the first instance, therefore, more generous assistance is required for socio-economic recovery in Burundi. The political process, without such appropriate economic support, will not be sustainable.
In addition, we need to explore ways by which the United Nations, particularly its three principal organs, can assist in peace, reconciliation, recovery and rehabilitation in Burundi. In that regard, we welcome the Economic and Social Council resolution of 17 July establishing an ad hoc advisory group. We should now perhaps begin to consider other ways in which the Economic and Social Council and the Security Council can work together comprehensively to address the problems in Burundi, for example, through the establishment of a composite committee.
The African Union, working together with the United Nations, including the Security Council, can succeed in realizing the dream of all our members here and the people of Burundi for peace and stability in their country, which they so richly deserve.
The Chinese delegation welcomes the presence here of the Deputy President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, to brief the Council about the situation in Burundi. China greatly appreciates the important role played by the South African Government and His Excellency Deputy President Zuma, as facilitator of the Burundi peace process. China welcomes the positive results achieved at the recent Summit of the Great Lakes Regional Peace Initiative on Burundi.
China notes with appreciation that, thanks to the joint efforts of all parties concerned and the efforts of the international community, the peace process in Burundi has made headway. The Transitional Government of Burundi and the National Council for the Defence of Democracy-Forces for the Defence of Democracy (CNDD-FDD) recently signed a Global Ceasefire Agreement, which indicates an important step forward for the Burundian peace process.
We hope that all sides in Burundi can fulfil their obligations in good faith and effectively implement the provisions of the Agreement in order to bring about comprehensive peace and reconciliation within the framework of the Arusha Peace and Reconciliation Agreement for Burundi.
The peace process in Burundi still faces many challenges. Certain anti-Government armed groups have thus far refused to join the peace process. There have recently been more armed attacks at Bujumbura, resulting in loss of life and property damage. China wishes to express its grave concern about these developments. We call upon the relevant anti-Government armed groups to bear in mind the fundamental interests of the nation, to demonstrate a spirit of national reconciliation and to speedily join the peace process.
The African mission in Burundi is an important attempt by African countries to solve their own problems through their own efforts and has played an important role in stabilizing the situation. Helping Burundi achieve comprehensive peace is not only an important task for the African Union, but also an unavoidable responsibility of the United Nations. The United Nations should enhance its coordination and cooperation with the African Union and its support to the African Union’s mission in Burundi through joint efforts to maintain the current favourable momentum of the peace process in Burundi.
We note that, in his statement, Mr. Zuma expressed the hope that the United Nations can play a greater role on the issue of Burundi. China fully understands this point and is in favour of seriously examining this issue in the Security Council.
I join others in welcoming the presence among us of Deputy President Zuma. I thank you, Deputy President, for your report, and I thank your country for leading the regional African Union effort in Burundi. The African Union mission in Burundi is clearly paying a key part at this moment. Peace is at a crucial juncture. We heard a much more positive report than we might have expected 12 months ago. The parties in Burundi appear serious in their pursuit of peace. That improvement could very well last, but significant hurdles remain. Security within the country is vital if the peace process is to come to a successful conclusion: security covering the political and military integration which is going to be necessary. Disarmament, demobilization and reintegration are going to be crucial, and Burundi will need help on those aspects, on the political aspects, and, very important, on the economic side.
In short, the United Kingdom believes that what we need is an integrated approach by the international community covering political and security issues; disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of the military; the economic development of the country; and much more. The obligation on the international community is all the greater because the Africans — within Africa as a whole and within the region — are producing their own solutions. The view of the United Kingdom is that, when that happens, they require, and we are obliged to give, support to those solutions.
With regard to the United Nations, we believe that a focused intervention is necessary, covering all those areas and involving all the instruments and elements within the family of the United Nations, including — crucially, as we have heard — the role of the Economic and Social Council: in short, an integrated, coordinated approach that tackles the needs of Burundi and avoids a repetition of some of the disasters we have seen previously. There is a lot of good to build on, and we are obliged to do that.
I am confident that this is what is being planned and considered by the Secretariat. The United Kingdom would welcome advice in due course on exactly how the international community and the United Nations can respond to the present situation. How can we best support the total effort needed — but especially, how do we best secure the peace process; how do we reinforce the efforts being made on the ground, which demand our support? If that means a peacekeeping operation, then the United Kingdom is very open to that. Let us look at a spectrum of the possibilities: what is the considered advice, worked out in consultation with those most directly involved?
There is clearly a need for extra resources and extra capacity to reinforce the African mission and to deliver all the things that Burundi deserves.
I am pleased to announce that the United Kingdom, bilaterally, will now give a further $3.4 million to support the mission currently in place in Burundi and to support the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration efforts. That would be in addition to what is being done by the European Union.
First of all, I would like to thank Deputy President Zuma and the President of the Economic and Social Council, Ambassador Gert Rosenthal, for their very comprehensive and encouraging statements.
Allow me to commend South Africa for its successful mediation efforts in Burundi. After the unsuccessful summit in Dar es Salaam in September 2003, it is doubtful that agreement between the Burundian Transitional Government and the National Council for the Defence of Democracy-Forces for the Defence of Democracy (CNDD-FDD) could have been brought about without sustained South African involvement at the highest political level.
My Government also warmly welcomes the exemplary engagement of the African Union, especially of the countries contributing troops to the African mission in Burundi. Germany supports the African mission, both bilaterally, with 400,000 euros, and through our contribution to the 25 million euros that the European Union has pledged. We believe that such strong regional involvement will remain a decisive factor also for the implementation process of the Pretoria Protocol, during which all parties involved will be faced with new and difficult challenges.
In our view, the cantonment of former combatants and their integration into the national army is a most pressing task that requires a considered and coordinated approach. The European Union provides an important contribution through the provision and distribution of food aid.
My Government favours a multi-track approach to a sustained peace process in Burundi that includes the African region, the United Nations and the donor community. The African mission in Burundi, the regional initiative, the international conference on the Great Lakes region, the United Nations Office in Burundi and United Nations agencies are all important elements in that respect. But, first and foremost, the commitment of all Burundian parties is needed.
The lack of a ceasefire agreement with Rwasa’s National Liberation Forces (FNL) poses a problem that needs to be dealt with before an all-inclusive peace agreement can be signed and implemented. In order to deflect attempts from disgruntled individuals and groups to set up FNL as a magnet for elements that oppose the Arusha Agreement, as well as the Pretoria Protocol, the peace dividend must be visible and tangible, brought about by economic and social development. However, should FNL fail to enter into negotiations with the Government within the three-month period, as set out in the regional initiative, the Council might wish to consider coercive measures against those FNL leaders unwilling to cooperate, as well as a weapons embargo against FNL.
As we have heard, especially from Deputy President Zuma, there has been progress in the past, but we have also heard and seen that great challenges lie ahead to bring the peace process to a successful conclusion. Outstanding reform measures must now be tackled energetically, despite remaining resistance. We call on all Rwandan parties, and in particular on those factions within the Burundian police force and the military that are disappointed with the Pretoria Protocol, to recognize that Protocol as a real chance for lasting peace, not only for Burundi but also for the entire Great Lakes region.
I also want to thank Deputy President Zuma for his report, which was very informative and that shows quite clearly that a lot of progress has been made in Burundi thanks to the hard work of the Deputy President, his country and many others, but obviously there still remains much to do. As Ambassador Rosenthal pointed out in his excellent overview, there is a need for all of us — the international community, the United Nations, individual countries and countries in the region — to concert our efforts to deal with the many issues that are still to be resolved in helping the Burundians find a way out of their difficulty.
We commend the Government and the Conseil national pour la défense de la démocratie (CNDD) and the Forces nationales pour la défense de la démocratie (FDD) for progress in implementing the 8 October and 2 November Pretoria Protocols. We welcome the news of the CNDD-FDD’s entry into the Transitional Government and we urge all the parties to continue to implement all agreements, including and especially the 2 December 2002 Ceasefire Agreement. Security has to be a priority if progress is to be made in all the other areas that need to be addressed.
We welcome continued support for the peace process from South Africa and others in the region and South African leadership, including the 16 November Summit of the Great Lakes Regional Initiative on Burundi. As others have done, we again urge FNL in the strongest terms to cease hostilities and join the peace process. We stress the need for the Government and FNL to use the recent meetings in Nairobi as a launching pad for positive negotiations and want to encourage Deputy President Zuma to pursue his mandate to bring FNL into the process.
I wanted to make a point of commending the African Union for its positive role in overseeing the implementation of the Ceasefire Agreement and to commend the African mission in Burundi, which, as the Deputy President said, that could be considered as a shining example and a model of African engagement. It demonstrates Africa’s commitment to providing African solutions to African problems. The United States strongly encourages and will support that approach. It is something that all of us in the international community should do — we must help our African friends when they step up to the challenge as they are doing here.
We are pleased that recent Ethiopian and Mozambican deployments to the African mission went smoothly. We will provide the African mission with logistical support and have recently dedicated $6.2 million for that purpose. We urge other countries to contribute to the African mission’s efforts as well.
We also welcome the efforts of the United Nations Office in Burundi which, coupled with the Special Representative of the Secretary-General chairmanship of the Arusha Agreement Implementation Monitoring Committee, ensures an important United Nations role in the process.
We hope that disarmament, demobilization and reintegration will begin as soon as possible and that the Burundian Government will work closely with the World Bank to quickly establish a strong World Bank disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programme in Burundi.
We welcome Belgium’s efforts to organize a donor’s conference in Brussels, which I understand will take place in January, and hope that many countries will contribute to those efforts. As I said earlier, the international community needs to buttress and encourage African efforts to deal with their problems and to give them the support required when difficult decisions are needed.
We understand that Department of Peacekeeping Operations is sending an assessment team to Burundi to look at the situation on the ground. We welcome that action, look forward to the results of that mission and hope that it can lead to productive discussions in the future on solutions, including to the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration components of the peace process.
My delegation wants to welcome Mr. Jacob Zuma, Deputy President of South Africa. We thank him for the useful information he has given us in his statement. We also would like to extend our welcome to Mr. Rosenthal, President of the Economic and Social Council, and we thank him for his statement.
My delegation took note of the important declaration of the heads of State of the Great Lakes region at the 20th Summit of the Great Lakes Regional Peace Initiative, held in Dar es Salaam, United Republic of Tanzania. Syria encourages all regional initiatives and all initiatives aimed at establishing peace in the Great Lakes region, and in particular, in Burundi.
In that regard, we pay tribute to the efforts of South Africa and above all to President Mbeki, as well as to the coordinator, Mr. Zuma, and those of the African Union in support of the Transitional Government in Burundi. We thank them for working to implement the agreements signed by the parties, in particular the Pretoria Protocols, in order to ensure acceptable power-sharing at the political, defence and security levels, and so that there may be fair elections in order to bring the transitional period to its conclusion.
The Syrian Arab Republic reaffirms the importance of supporting the Great Lakes Regional Peace Initiative. We pay tribute to the efforts of the African mission in Burundi, a mission that is working successfully to fulfil its mandate. That mission has played an important role in resolving the conflict and in moving towards the establishment of peace and security in Burundi. Such regional effort requires our ongoing support in order to preserve the ceasefire between the parties and to work towards disarmament, demobilization and the reintegration of ex-combatants.
My delegation associates itself with all the preceding speakers regarding the need for the international community to continue to support the African mission, and we call on the Council to contribute effectively and appropriately towards preserving the peace in Burundi in accordance with the Pretoria Agreements. The African Mission is playing an essential role at this stage in the efforts to ensure peace and security in Burundi. Logistical and financial support by the international community and by donor countries will have to be given to this Mission, so that it can play its role as planned.
First of all, I would like to welcome to this Chamber the Deputy President of South Africa, Mr. Zuma, and I would like to thank him for the report he gave to the Security Council over this current situation of the peace process in Burundi. We are also grateful to the President of the Economic and Social Council, Mr. Rosenthal, for his contribution to our debate today.
Our meeting today does reflect the interaction and the complementarity of the United Nations bodies and of the regional efforts in trying to resolve a specific conflict situation. We note significant progress made in handling the crisis in Burundi, and this was thanks to the signing in Dar es Salaam on 16 November of the Agreement on Peace between the Government and the National Council for the Defence of Democracy-Forces for Defence of Democracy (CNDD-FDD) groups of Mr. Nkurunziza, with the assistance of the Governments of South Africa, Mozambique, Uganda and Tanzania.
The decision to establish a new Government in the country was a major step towards reconciliation in the country. We would note the role of the African Union and the African Mission in Burundi. Despite the rather considerable difficulties they face, they are doing everything possible to ensure that a large-scale bloody war does not break out again.
Unless there is a truly comprehensive agreement on a ceasefire, to which all of the conflicting parties must be party without any exception at all, it will not be possible to achieve a stable peace in Burundi. The Security Council has already several times called on and demanded of the Forces nationales de libération (FNL) that they stop fighting and join in constructive talks with the central Government. Unfortunately, no significant progress has yet been achieved in that direction. The African Union and the countries that have influence there must try to do their utmost to bring influence to bear on the FNL.
We are willing to study carefully the proposals presented today to advance the peace process. It is time to put an end to the fighting in Burundi. The faster that can be done, the faster peace, stability and development can be achieved in the Great Lakes region.
Many thanks to Deputy President Zuma for being here with us and for his briefing and also for the central role that his country and that he himself have been playing and continue to play with regard to the question on Burundi.
The signing on 8 October of the Pretoria Protocol on Political, Defence and Security Power-Sharing in Burundi is a source of satisfaction. We know that this has already led to concrete measures, such as the restructuring of the Transitional Government. This happened at the end of November when members of the National Council for the Defence of Democracy-Forces for Defence of Democracy (CNDD-FDD) of Nkurunziza joined the Government.
Nonetheless, we believe that the process is still fragile and that there are major challenges ahead. First of all, a firm appeal must be made to the parties to take measures that strengthen the positive steps that have been taken thus far. This includes the complete implementation of the comprehensive ceasefire agreement between the Transitional Government and the CNDD-FDD of Nkurunziza, as agreed on 16 November.
Secondly, another major challenge to the peace process remains the question of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration, in which the results to date have been meagre. We believe that at the present time, following the signing of the Pretoria Protocol, the time has come to make true progress on this issue. In addition, the forces of the African Mission in Burundi have been fully deployed. Thirdly, as we have said on many occasions, it needs to be reiterated that there is an appeal to the Forces nationales de libération of Agathon Rwasa to enter without delay into negotiations with the Transitional Government and join the peace process.
Lastly, we emphasize the importance of ensuring that progress at the political level lead to an improvement in the living standards of the civilian population. Unfortunately, right now the humanitarian situation has not seen any improvement. A firm appeal must be made once again to all the parties to the conflict to facilitate free, unobstructed access by the humanitarian organizations to the civilian population.
In a different context, as many other speakers have already indicated, the support of the international community to the peace process in Burundi is fundamental. We emphasize the great importance that the African Mission in Burundi has, being the first African peacekeeping operation. We emphasize the efforts that regional players are making — among them the European Union — and we believe that we must take into account the close relationship between the peace process in Burundi and holding of the international conference on the Great Lakes region. The Security Council recently devoted a session to this subject.
We believe that the consolidation of the peace process in Burundi is essential, so that the questions to be dealt with at the Conference can be dealt with in an effective manner. I also want to express thanks to the President of the Economic and Social Council for his very useful comments on the contribution of the Economic and Social Council to the peace process.
On behalf of my delegation, I would like to thank Deputy President Zuma of South Africa for his very comprehensive and relevant account of the situation in Burundi, in his capacity as facilitator. We would also like to thank the President of the Economic and Social Council, who explained the role of that body in strengthening peace in Burundi.
Remarkable progress has without a doubt been made over the last year, and particularly in the past two months in terms of a return to some normality in the country. The African Union through its Mission and the United Nations through its office in Bujumbura, along with other partners, have all made their contribution to this progress, but we must recognize there are still dangers ahead that we must try to avoid. One of those, and not the least important, is the reluctance, indeed the refusal on the part of the Forces nationales de libération (FNL) of Agathon Rwasa to join the peace process. In that connection, I would like to hear the views of Deputy President Zuma about the best approach for encouraging the FNL to change its attitude. Indeed, in his statement he did address the preconditions it has set to definitively join in the process.
In conclusion, my delegation believes there is no way to re-establish peace in Burundi without first strengthening the presence of the African mission there, with a view to replacing it quickly by a robust and credible United Nations force.
My delegation joins the previous speakers in welcoming the Deputy President of South Africa, His Excellency Jacob Zuma, and thanking him for his briefing on the developments in the peace process in Burundi. We also appreciated his analysis on the ways and means of consolidating what has been achieved to date and of gradually getting Burundi back on the path to peace, security and progress. We also thank the President of the Economic and Social Council for his excellent statement.
My delegation would like to extend its deepest appreciation to the South African Government for its commendable efforts to restore peace to Burundi and for its decisive contribution it made to the political and military protocol which was signed on 8 October in Pretoria between the Transitional Government and the Forces for the Defence of Democracy (FDD).
We also pay tribute to the countries in the region for their successful contributions to the regional initiative. My delegation welcomes the positive developments in Burundi, evidenced by the signing, on 16 November 2003 at Dar es Salaam, at the 20th summit of the Regional Peace Initiative on Burundi, of a power-sharing agreement on political, defence and security matters between the Transitional Government of Burundi and the faction of the National Council for the Defence of Democracy-Forces for the Defence of Democracy (CNDD-FDD) led by Pierre Nkurunziza.
Furthermore, Deputy President Zuma told us in detail about the progress that has been made. My delegation therefore warmly congratulates the Burundian parties and urges them to resolutely continue in this direction. Without their desire for reconciliation, without their ability to make the concessions necessary for a cessation of hostilities and a return to a situation conducive to the well-being of their peoples, we would not have been able to achieve the Agreement that we welcome today.
We thank President Domitien Ndayizeye for his work and his determination, from the time he assumed power, to ensure reconciliation for all Burundians and to restore peace in Burundi. The tireless efforts he has made in this area since then are admirable. We also welcome the commitment made by the parties to end hostilities, to establish the rule of law and to establish a national army. We strongly support the ultimatum given to Agathon Rwasa’s National Liberation Forces (FNL) to cease hostilities and join the peace process within three months. The FNL has to understand there is no alternative to the negotiating table.
We fully agree with Deputy President Zuma’s analysis of this situation. It is important that the peace process in Burundi now be given greater support by the international community on an urgent basis, particularly at this stage where there is a lack of resources for the peace process. The United Nations, the European Union and the donor community must all act quickly to maintain the momentum generated by the signing of the Agreement. In this connection, we would like to thank the European Union for offering an additional $25 million in assistance. It is important that the funds be made available shortly.
Living conditions in Burundi are among the most precarious in the world. Various spheres, including food security and protection of and access to basic services, are in need of vital humanitarian assistance. In this regard, we endorse the appeal for funds for Burundi that was issued last month by the United Nations.
The issue of refugees and displaced persons is crucial. They are the main victims of the Burundi conflict. In early 2003, there were 800,000 Burundian refugees in Tanzania and there were 300,000 displaced civilians. These numbers have increased since then because of the fighting last month between government forces and the FNL of Agathon Rwasa. The situation of the refugees and displaced persons continues to deteriorate. All necessary efforts must be employed to ensure that managing repatriation and reinstallation does not become a new source of conflict, endangering the peace process.
The peace process in Burundi is at a decisive and irreversible stage. There is no better time or opportunity for the international community to make a decisive contribution to the return of peace, security and harmony to that country that has suffered so much. It is our hope that the appeal will be heard and that it will be followed with actions.
In conclusion, I would like to say that my delegation supports the sending of a United Nations peacekeeping mission to Burundi.
The Mexican delegation wants first of all to express thanks for the information given to us by Mr. Jacob Zuma, facilitator of the peace process in Burundi, and to put on record our appreciation for the important work that he has accomplished in the process of reconciliation in that country.
Mexico feels encouraged by the positive events that have occurred in Burundi, particularly in the political sphere. We welcome the Agreement reached between the Transitional Government and the Nkurunziza faction of the National Council for the Defence of Democracy-Forces for the Defence of Democracy (CNDD-FDD) which has made it possible to incorporate that rebel group into political life in the framework of the Transitional Government.
Undoubtedly, the decision of the National Liberation Forces (FNL) headed by Agathon Rwasa not to participate in negotiations with the Transitional Government has a negative impact on the peace process. We emphasize the need for progress in this regard. We recognize the valuable decision of the FNL to meet for the first time with representatives of the Transitional Government, and we invite the members of that group to continue to work in this direction.
In spite of the progress achieved in the peace process, security conditions remain fragile. The humanitarian situation has worsened, with continuous confrontations. As a result, thousands of persons have been displaced from their homes. We reiterate our condemnation of all acts of violence, and we appeal for an immediate end to the hostilities. We also appeal for unrestricted access — under safe conditions — by humanitarian organizations to the civilian population, especially the most vulnerable populations.
Considering the agreement that was reached, and with a view to consolidating the peace process, the Transitional Government will have to implement programmes for the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of ex-combatants.
In conclusion, I thank the President of the Economic and Social Council for his briefing and comments on the assistance to be given to Burundi in the post-conflict situation. Once again, I stress that we listened most attentively to the statements of the facilitator, Mr. Zuma. Mexico intends to participate constructively in the consolidation of the process.
Very briefly, I wish first to thank the Deputy President of South Africa, Mr. Jacob Zuma, for his briefing today and for his important work on behalf of Burundi in his capacity as Facilitator. We also thank the Government of South Africa for its commitment to this process.
We believe that the briefing given by the President of the Economic and Social Council, whose welcome presence in the Council has become customary, was also of great interest and a valuable contribution.
The progress achieved in bringing peace and stability to Burundi is significant and the Council should welcome it, while recognizing the important challenges still facing that country. At the same time, we regret the fact that, despite the progress achieved, the Forces nationales de libération (FNL) has not found a way to associate itself with the peace process. We encourage continued efforts to incorporate the FNL into the Transitional Government.
The international community’s reaction to Burundi must be immediate, because the peace process under way must be consolidated by international assistance. The assistance must be comprehensive and include economic and social aid, improvement of the humanitarian situation and assistance in national reconciliation. There is also a need to assess the best way to address security and peacekeeping problems in Burundi, be it through the African mission, renewed resources or United Nations participation. As for the Organization, a comprehensive approach will require the participation of different United Nations bodies, including the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council and the General Assembly.
I believe that the work being done by the ad hoc group on African countries emerging from conflict of the Economic and Social Council is linked to a certain degree to the work of the Security Council. We might consider exploring formulas, such as those mentioned by the Ambassador of Pakistan, to improve the work done by the two bodies.
In conclusion, the important thing is to consolidate peace in Burundi and the results already obtained so as to ensure that there will be no recurrence of violence in that country.
I shall now make a few brief comments in my national capacity.
First, I warmly thank the Deputy President of South Africa and facilitator of the peace process in Burundi, Mr. Jacob Zuma, for his statement, which contained some good news. Above all, my delegation is very grateful to him for his tireless efforts to advance the peace process in Burundi. The perseverance and resolve with which he has undertaken his task must be welcomed. We are, of course, also grateful to his country, South Africa.
I also wish to thank the President of the Economic and Social Council for his extremely useful contribution to our debate, which shed light on the road yet to be travelled before we reach our common destination: a peaceful and stable Burundi.
My country welcomes the positive developments in the peace process in Burundi, despite its many frailties. Bulgaria, like other delegations, welcomes the Global Ceasefire Agreement, signed in Dar es Salaam on 16 November between the Government of Burundi and the Conseil national pour la défense de la démocratie-Forces pour la défense de la démocratie, led by Mr. Pierre Nkurunziza. That was a major step forward towards peace. We encourage the parties to implement that agreement forthwith. Bulgaria also pays heartfelt tribute to the countries of the regional initiative, which helped to arrive at the Agreement. We cannot exaggerate the importance of the positive role played by the countries of the region.
Bulgaria also duly appreciates the valuable contribution of the African Union through its deployment of the African mission to Burundi, which should be appropriately supported and assisted by the international community and the Security Council.
It is essential that the ceasefire in Burundi extend throughout the country. In that respect, like other delegations we urgently call on Mr. Rwasa Agathon of the Forces nationales de liberation to abandon the military option and to join the peace process.
I now resume my functions as President of the Security Council.
I would ask Deputy President Zuma and President Rosenthal if they wish to offer any additional observations in response to points raised by members of the Council.
I call on Deputy President Zuma.
I would first just introduce the colleagues I am with here. I think it is important. We have Julia Dolly Joiner of the Commission for Political Affairs of the African Union, who is sitting behind me, representing the African Union. We also have Ambassador Welile Nhlapo, who is one of the deputy heads of the African mission in Burundi, and Adonia Ayebare, who is Ambassador of Uganda in Kigali and Burundi and a deputy head of the mission in Burundi.
I thank you very much, Mr. President, for the opportunity once again to speak, and the Council members for their contributions. I believe that it is clear from those contributions that the Council appreciates the progress that has been made in Burundi. I think it is clear, too, that the Council feels that there must be support for that process, and I thank members very much for that support, which is very necessary. It is similar to that which we received when we came here exactly a year ago, and I take it as stronger this time than it was last year. Last year, we said that we had an agreement, but that there were still outstanding issues; now we are saying that there are no more outstanding issues, particularly with regard to the Conseil national pour la defence de la démocratie-Forces pour la defence de la démocratie (CNDD-FDD), led by Pierre Nkurunziza, which is the biggest armed group that was operating throughout the country. Its signing of the Agreement and joining of the process really took the process in Burundi significantly forward. As I said, they are very committed and enthusiastic. That is why they are in Bujumbura now to join the process. The peace process therefore needs the very specific support of the United Nations.
I know that organizations have procedures that at times make things move at a particular pace, but I do not know whether there are no exceptions making it possible to move quicker or to take shortcuts — especially taking into account that we are dealing with a process that has moved far beyond those in other areas that are still struggling to find peace. By and large, we have moved beyond struggling for peace in Burundi.
We are also facing a situation in which elections are barely a year away. One of the issues that we must deal with in this process is to ensure that the elections are held — that they are not delayed — so that we can establish a democratic Government in Burundi. In a sense, I think that makes the situation even more urgent in terms of the practical support that we need to put in place with regard to Burundi. The Burundians themselves are very keen to start looking into how the elections will take place and what kind of formula will be followed. If the lack of resources causes us delays in implementing the agreements, it will also delay the important interaction between Burundians to begin to focus on the elections: first, to discuss what shape the elections must take and, secondly, to determine how Burundians will participate in the process of preparing for the elections. This is therefore a very urgent matter that requires us to act as quickly as possible. But I do feel that the members of the Council have expressed their appreciation and understanding of this situation.
I also noted that quite a few of the remarks — and indeed almost every speaker — mentioned the issue of the Party for the Liberation of the Hutu People-Forces for National Liberation (PALIPEHUTU-FNL) led by Agathon Rwasa. I think it is natural that that issue should be raised. It is an issue to which we are paying full attention. I will certainly report back to the Council with regard to its concern about this matter. But, as I said in my opening statement, the Council itself has taken very specific positions on this matter in terms of calling upon the FNL to join the process. I think it is important for the Security Council to reiterate that position and to add its voice the many other voices in saying that — as has been put forth here by those who have spoken — PALIPEHUTU-FNL must join the process. Certainly, I am sure that at the end of three months the region will have to consider the matter of what else can be done to try to bring the FNL into the process. I hope that by that time, I shall have been able to interact with the FNL and, perhaps, to have prevailed in making it part of the process. So I note that that question had been raised.
I note also that there were specific questions in that connection regarding what I believe is the best thing to do. I believe it was our colleague from Guinea who asked the question. I believe that pressure must be exerted by everyone; in other words, the calls to PALIPEHUTU-FNL must come from everyone. But I also believe that if the FNL does not see itself as part of the process — meaning, therefore, that it is standing alone against the entire population of Burundi — and if it believes it to be proper for it to carry on with its negative activities, it will, in a sense, be defining itself as being apart from those who want peace in Burundi. I am sure all of us will have to sit down and ask ourselves what we can do in that circumstance. I am also sure it should be a collective decision by everyone — not just by the Burundians, the region or the continent, but also by the international community and, in particular, the United Nations.
Certainly, after three months we will have to indicate where we are with the FNL. I am very hopeful that the FNL will heed the situation, particularly because since the signing of the Agreement, things are not well within the FNL itself. A large number of its armed forces have walked over to join the forces of the National Council for the Defence of Democracy-Forces for the Defence of Democracy (CNDD-FDD). We are also aware that there is great disagreement from within with regard to those who want to come into the peace process — and they are reported to be in the majority. Unfortunately, its leader holds a different view, even if that is not a majority view. We have to work to find out what it is that can be done to persuade him, because we want to find a peaceful solution and a better way to persuade them to come into the process. I believe that the current activities might have a positive impact on the FNL joining the process.
I would also like to express my appreciation for the statement made by the President of the Economic and Social Council. I think it was a very clear statement, and we appreciate it.
I also wish to convey my appreciation for the position put forth with regard to the very practical and concrete offers made by both the United Kingdom and the United States of America in terms of the specific amounts they have said they will make available to put forward bilaterally to support the peace process. That is highly appreciated. I am sure that the appreciation I am expressing is also that of the continent. That will be of great practical and concrete assistance in helping us to move forward. I think that really provides a practical example for the Council, namely, that the Council must itself be able to take very positive decisions.
I am very grateful for that support. I think it means a lot — not only to Burundians and the Great Lakes region, but to the continent as a whole. I appreciate what has been done. I feel humbled indeed by the support given today.
I thank Deputy President Zuma for his comments. I would like to thank him once again for his very useful participation in our work today.
I now give the floor to the President of the Economic and Social Council to make additional comments.
I have just one brief point of information I would like to share with the members of the Council. The Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Burundi, under the chairmanship of Ambassador Kumalo, visited Burundi a week ago. Its members are Burundi, Ethiopia, France, Japan and South Africa. I joined them as President of the Economic and Social Council; and the Permanent Mission of Angola joined them as the Chairman of the Ad Hoc Advisory Group of African Countries Emerging from Conflict. We hope that the report — the collective opinion of the members of that Group — will be ready in early January. Of course, we will share it with the members of the Security Council as soon as it is ready.
I thank the President of the Economic and Social Council for his additional comments.
The Security Council has thus concluded the present stage of its consideration of the item on its agenda.