Commission sues for peace in Burundi

Bujumbura- Burundi (PANA) -- Some 20 members of the Commission in charge of monitoring the Burundi peace agreement, have appealed to the country's politicians to cease "political and military hostilities" with a view to reaching a final compromise, official sources said.
Burundi's peace agreement was concluded in August 2000 in Arusha following tough negotiations among the various factions.
Since then effective implementation of the agreement has been hamstrung by the lack of trust between the government and opposition groups, observers said.
Pierre Barusasiyeko, an MP for the Front for Democracy in Burundi (FRODEBU, majority) and a member of the follow-up Committee to the Arusha agreement, said there is still tension around negotiations.
He underscored the need to establish healthy relations among the groups "if we are to make speedy progress towards reaching a compromise over outstanding questions," noting that "Burundians may have negotiated a bad agreement, but with goodwill, mutual trust and good faith from the Burundian politicians, we can achieve peace.
" Ambroise Niyonsaba told reporters Tuesday in Bujumbura upon return from Arusha, that he expected the other parties to the conflict to take on the "spirit of team work and compromise that was inspired in Arusha during the third meeting of the Committee" in a bid to advance the peace move.
"We unanimously concluded, within the follow-up Committee, that a call had to be made to all belligerents and political groups so that they cease political and military hostilities in order to move more positively towards comprise solutions," he continued.
Niyonsaba, led the government delegation to Arusha and is the Burundian minister in charge of the peace process.
On the rest of the committee's work, the minister said "some progress" was made on the other issues on the agenda.
He especially mentioned the issue relating to the provisions of the peace agreement that in his opinion hampers political freedom.
"We have set up a small working group which managed to list such provisions and we will ask the Burundian government and parliament to draw up, as soon as possible, legal texts aimed at repealing them," Niyonsaba continued.
Besides, he said the Committee's session found time to discuss difficult issues relating to the cease-fire and to the setting up of new State institutions as provided under the Arusha agreement, but "without any compromise.
" In the face of these "persistent difficulties" he said the follow-up committee would request the mediator in the Burundian crisis, former South African President Nelson Mandela, to summon the parties involved in order to finally strike a compromise.

06 june 2001 13:18:00

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