Buyoya Says Peace Accord Likely to Be Stillborn

Bujumbura- Burundi (PANA) -- Burundi's peace and reconciliation accord, signed last year, was likely to go on record as a stillborn document, President Pierre Boyoya has said.
Due to continued violence in the strife-torn central African country, Buyoya sees bleak prospects for materialisation of the agreement signed in August 2000 by Burundi's political leaders after lengthy peace negotiations in Arusha, Tanzania.
Buyoya made the remark at a press conference in Bujumbura on his return from a visit to South Africa where he discussed the prevailing situation in the country with Burundi's peace talks facilitator, Nelson Mandela.
"I have clearly indicated to my interlocutors that if this violence continues, we are no longer going to speak about implementation of the peace accord in the coming weeks and months, but rather we'll speak of the war in Burundi".
Besides meeting with Mandela during the visit, Buyoya also held talks with South African President Thabo Mbeki and Vice President Jacob Zuma about the ongoing fighting in Burundi.
Buyoya said conditions that must exist, in accordance with the peace agreement, had not yet been met to enable ten or so signatories of the Arusha accord living in exile to return home.
On account of the unabating violence, he said institutions of the proposed transitional administration could not be put in place in the spirit and letter of the inter-Burundian peace accord.
"This is impossible in view of the state of war that characterises Burundi", Buyoya emphasised.
In his opinion, what is feasible on a short term is a double transition whose first phase of 18 months would be headed by the signatories of the peace accord presently residing in Burundi.
Meanwhile, Mandela has made it a point to remain outside this question and asked protagonists in the Burundi crisis to settle it between themselves.
On the same wavelength, Buyoya has urged his political opponents to sit down together in order to resolve the problem of leadership of the transition period.
But Buyoya fears the current lull in the war in neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo would have a negative impact on the situation in Burundi.
He said various rebel movements in the Great Lakes region, allied to those of Burundi, would like to redeploy to escape disarmament measures provided for under the Lusaka peace accord for the DRC.
"Nobody has the right to close the eyes on the reality of the war imposed on Burundi and ask for the implementation of the Arusha provisions without solid security guarantee", Buyoya said.
Thursday last week, a day before Buyoya went to Johannesburg, a delegation of 22 members of civil society, the army and religious denominations in Burundi, also flew to South Africa in connection with crisis in their country.
The same week a strong delegation of Burundi's majority party, the Front for Democracy in Burundi (FRODEBU), proceeded to Nairobi, Kenya, for consultations with the party's exiled leadership.

07 may 2001 22:59:00




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