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Burundi Peace Process: Tough Challenges Ahead

Burundi has been involved in a civil war since the assassination of the first-ever democratically elected President and FRODEBU leader Melchior Ndadaye, in October 1993. For the last 26 months, the government of Major Pierre Buyoya, which took power in a coup four years ago, has been engaged in negotiations with FRODEBU together with the other political parties. Nelson Mandela took over this process in December 1999 following the death of the first Mediator, the late Julius Nyerere.

Mandela breathed life into the Arusha process and rallied the international community to devote attention to the Burundi conflict. His first priority was to conclude the Arusha process as quickly as possible. In order to do this, he speeded up negotiations in the five areas of focus (Committee I on the nature of the conflict; II on democracy and good governance; III on peace and security; IV on reconstruction and development; and V on guarantees to support implementation of the accord).

A draft agreement was presented to the nineteen parties on 16 July 2000. By his assertive approach, Mandela has provoked a healthy debate on questions related to an amnesty for those guilty of political crimes, the integration of rebel forces into the army, power sharing and the transitional period. He has also pressured the government to dismantle regroupment camps in Bujumbura Rural, to allow political parties the right of assembly and to permit freedom of the press.

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Latest Reports
"Get Moving Now to Prevent Genocide in Burundi"
Comment by Gareth Evans, published in the International Herald Tribune

22 August 2001
Burundi: One Hundred Days to put the Peace Process Back on Track (English version)
14 August 2001
Burundi : Cent jours pour retrouver le chemin de la paix
(executive summary also available in English)

14 August 2001
Burundi: sortir de l'impasse. L'urgence d'un nouveau cadre de negociations
14 May 2001
Burundi: Breaking the Deadlock, The Urgent Need For A New Negotiating Framework
14 May 2001