afrol News, 7 June - Members of the United Nations Security Council yesterday called on all parties to the conflict in Burundi to immediately cease hostilities and to respect human rights and international law. Fighting intensified after the dubious coup attempt in April, and a "complex and intractable" situation is observed in Burundi.
Current Security Council President, Anwarul K. Chowdhury, told the press that, "Members of the Council reiterate their strong support for the Arusha Agreement as the basis for the resolution of the conflict in Burundi and are united in the belief that there is no military solution to the conflict. Armed groups should not pursue their agenda through violent means."
In a press statement following the Security Council's meeting on Burundi yesterday, President Chowdhury said the Council members also encouraged the dialogue between the government and the rebels and called upon the countries in the region to use their influence to bring the armed groups into the peace process.
They endorsed the findings of the Council's mission to Burundi, and repeated their call on the Forces for National Liberation and Forces for the Defence of Democracy to enter into the Arusha process and refrain from any violent action. The 12-member mission which visited the Great Lakes region in May had said it was struck by the "complexity and intractability" of the situation in Burundi and its serious potential for large-scale violence.
Burundian President Pierre Buyoya thus told the Security Council that over the past few months, the security situation along the Burundi-Tanzania border had become so serious there was now "almost an open state of war. The situation could even lead to emergence of a new regional conflict, centred on Burundi."
The UN mission concluded that urgent attention should be given to the situation on the Tanzania-Burundi border "which could ignite a serious deterioration of the crisis". It also noted that the crisis in Burundi was closely linked to that in Congo Kinshasa (DRC). "It is clear to the Security Council mission that no action that damages Burundi can truly assist the DRC," the mission's report said, referring to massive movements of rebel fighters eastwards from the DRC to avoid being disarmed in accordance with the Lusaka peace accord for the Congo.
Members of the Council yesterday noted the progress made in advancing the peace process at the session of the Implementation Monitoring Committee in Arusha from 28 May to 4 June.
The Security Council members also reiterated their full support for Nelson Mandela, the Facilitator of the Arusha process, and regional initiatives to bring peace to the troubled central African country. Most parties to the Burundi conflict have signed the Arusha peace agreement, but the currently most active guerrilla groups have so far refused to participate.
Sources: UN sources and afrol archives