Great Lakes leaders meet to discuss Burundi's peace

Dar es Salaam- Tanzania (PANA) -- Leaders of the Great Lakes region meet in Arusha in northern Tanzania Monday to discuss the Burundi peace process and the formation of a three-year transitional government to end the war.
Leaders of Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, South Africa, Rwanda and Burundi will attend the regional meeting which will mainly focus on the transitional government's agenda.
President Omar Bongo of Gabon and South Africa's Vice President Jacob Zuma are expected at the one-day summit to brief the leaders on the separate talks they held with Burundi's 10 warring factions.
Judge Mark Bomani, an aide to the Burundi crisis chief mediator, former South African President Nelson, said Sunday leaders of the Great Lakes Initiative on Burundi would ensure that the transitional government fulfilled conditions agreed upon by the signatories to the 28 August 2000 Burundi Peace and Reconciliation Agreement.
Incumbent Burundi President Pierre Buyoya, who will lead the first phase of the 18-month transitional government, will accept the conditions, Bomani said.
At last week's meeting in Pretoria, South Africa, some conditions were put forward by the 19 Burundi contending parties after they met Mandela.
The conditions included the release of all political prisoners, allowing international peacekeepers in Burundi during the transitional government and the enforcement of the Arusha peace pact.
Last week Mandela declared that Buyoya, an ethnic Tutsi, would lead the first phase of transitional government as president before swapping positions with a Hutu candidate in the second phase.
Domitien Ndayizeye, current secretary general of the Front for Democracy in Burundi (FRODEBU), will be the vice president in the first phase before taking over from Buyoya in the second phase.
However, six Tutsi opposition parties have threatened to boycott the regional summit, complaining that Mandela was trying to railroad them into a flawed pact to end the tiny central African nation's civil war.
A spokesman for the parties, Alphonce Rugambarara, said they had nothing to do with Mandela's decision that Buyoya should lead the first phase of the transitional government.
But Bomani said the regional leaders would push for implementation of the 28 August 2000 Arusha peace agreement.

22 juillet 2001 10:42:00

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