ICG's reports on Burundi's long-running civil war have provided candid assessments of the country's complex internal political situation and the twists and turns of the Arusha peace process, with particular focus on the destabilising impact of the war in the neighbouring Congo. ICG has consistently sought to mobilise international attention and backing - including technical assistance - for Burundi's difficult transition to peace.
Although a milestone was reached with the signing of the Burundi Peace Agreement in Arusha on 28 August 2000, negotiations on implementing the agreement have faced serious deadlock, and progress has been painstakingly slow amidst new violence and instability. An encouraging new political transition agreement was reached on 23 July 2001, but Burundian Hutu rebels fighting in the Congo have so far refused to withdraw from the conflict and cooperate for peace in Burundi. On the eve of the three-year period of political transition set to begin on 1 November 2001, the key challenges facing Burundi are the establishment of a lasting cease-fire and the reform of the military. In the absence of progress on these fronts, the peace process will remain extremely vulnerable.