UN envoy reports on 'constructive' discussions with Burundi to resolve differences
The United Nations envoy on conflict prevention has said that the international community and the Government of Burundi would find a common ground for implementing the Security Council resolution that proposes the deployment of unarmed UN police officers through continued dialogue.
“Our discussions were constructive and I'm confident that with continuous engagement and political will, we will find common ground as a basis for moving forward with the implementation of the resolution,” said Jamal Benomar, the Special Adviser to the Secretary-General for Conflict Prevention, after he briefed the 15-member Council yesterday on his recent visit to Burundi.
The Council dispatched him to consult with officials in Burundi to find a way forward on all issues related to peace and security and UN activities in the country, after the Government earlier rejected the Council resolution on establishing a police officers' component there and amid reports that it will withdraw from the International Criminal Court ( ICC ).
Council Resolution 2303, adopted on 29 July 2016, authorized up to 228 UN individual police officers for the component, to be deployed in the capital, Bujumbura, and throughout Burundi, for one year.
Also through the resolution adopted by 11 votes in favour to none against with four abstentions (Angola, China, Egypt, Venezuela), the Council expressed “its intention to pursue targeted measures against all actors, inside and outside Burundi, who threaten the peace and security of Burundi.”
In yesterday's briefing, Mr. Benomar told the Council that he had held the various meetings with the Government and other stakeholders there, as well as with former President Benjamin Mkapa, the facilitator of the East African Community (EAC)-led dialogue, in Dar es Salaam.
“I told the Council that I listened carefully to the views and concerns of the Burundian Government in respect to resolution 2303, particularly regarding the proposed deployment of unarmed UN police officers,” Mr. Benomar said.
“I told the Council that I believe we need a new compact between the Government of Burundi and the international community, with both sides engaging in a constructive effort to promote peace and stability, in full respect of Burundi's sovereignty,” he added.
Noting that the Burundian people are suffering the economic and humanitarian consequences of this situation, the special adviser said that the UN is seeking to increase its efforts to meet the needs of the population.
“But in order to address the many implications of this crisis in the long-term, its root causes must be tackled – a Burundian-led political process and a genuine and inclusive dialogue are urgently needed,” he stressed.
“I look forward to continued engagement with the Burundian Government and other stakeholders in order to reach consensus on the steps needed to move the country forward,” he added.
The United Nations works with Burundi, including through the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC), an intergovernmental advisory body that supports peace efforts in countries emerging from conflict.
Burundi was thrown into fresh crisis more than a year ago when President Pierre Nkurunziza decided to run for a controversial third term that he went on to win. To date, it has been reported that hundreds of people have been killed, more than 250,000 have fled the nation, and thousands more have been arrested and possibly subjected to human rights violations.