Mandela to receive Burundian leaders

Bujumbura- Burundi (PANA) -- Former South African President Nelson Mandela is scheduled to meet representatives of the Burundian army, leaders of religious groups and socio- professional groups in Pretoria on 4 May.
The director of cabinet in the ministry handling the peace process, Gilbert Niyoankura told PANA in Bujumbura that the mediator would try to jump-start implementation of the peace agreement signed in Arusha, Tanzania in August 2000.
Mandela will attempt to iron out the hitches that have prevented the 19 Burundian signatory parties, which are widely divided over who would lead the proposed new government institutions as well as on the cessation of hostilities in the ongoing civil war.
The government in power has refused to hand over power to new authorities until there is cease-fire.
However, other signatories of the peace accord are convinced that negotiating a cease-fire should be left to leaders of institutions created under the Arusha protocol.
"It is high time the mediation team took control of things and demand concessions from the Burundian protagonists so as to establish peace and democracy on the basis of the existing agreement," Niyoankura said.
The last meeting between Mandela and the Burundian parties engaged in the peace talks was held last month during a sub-regional summit of leaders involved in facilitating the inter-Burundian peace process.
Niyonkura also recalled that last month, Mandela had also travelled to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) where he held separate talks with leaders of Burundian rebel groups and President Joseph Kabila.
Over the past few months, South African deputy President Jacob Zuma has undertaken several missions in a bid to re-open direct negotiations between the government in Bujumbura and rebel groups.

26 april 2001 21:17:00




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