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Africa | Burundi

AU warns Burundi to speed up ceasefire deal

afrol News, 13 August - African Union has urged Burundi's warring parties to speed up conclusion of global ceasefire deal signed nearly two years ago.

According to a statement issued yesterday, AU's peace and security council (PSC) has warned the two parties that patience and generosity of international community was running out.

"The patience and the generosity of the international community have limits," PSC told two parties, which concluded the 7 September 2006 deal.

Burundi and National Liberation Forces (FNL) agreed a ceasefire in 2006, but opposing demands from the two sides has repeatedly frustrated its implementation.

In closing its 147th meeting, AU council asked government of Burundi and FNL movement to show a greater political will to triumph over obstacles which keep slowing down implementation of agreement.

"Council invited the two parties to place the national interest above any other consideration and to prove their patriotism which is necessary in order to not only meet the aspirations of the Burundian people for safety, stability and national reconciliation, but also to assure country's economic and social development," the statement declared.

In spite of the return on 16 May 2008, to Bujumbura of representatives of FNL within joint mechanism of follow-up and checking (MCVS) of global ceasefire deal, and that of Agathon Rwasa, Movement's leader on 30 May 2008, excuses and delay tactics continued to affect application of peace agreement.

The conflict-battered African country is still struggling to emerge from conflict, which began in 1993, mainly pitting rebels from the Hutu majority population against Tutsi minority, which at time dominated national army.

Some 300,000 people were killed in the conflict. A power-sharing government was formed in 2005, while clashes were still taking place.

South Africa mediated among different sides until almost all rebel groups agreed to a ceasefire.

President Pierre Nkurunziza, a former Hutu guerrilla, was elected in 2005 as part of an African-brokered peace pact backed by United Nations. FNL was not part of pact.

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