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COMMUNIQUE DE PRESSE
Burundi: 100 days to lay foundations for peace

INTERNATIONAL CRISIS GROUP MEDIA RELEASE

Burundi: 100 days to lay foundations for peace

Nairobi/Brussels, 14 August 2001: For the first time since 1993, there is a real chance for peace to take hold in Burundi. But time and money are short – and the international community, donors and regional governments must give the peace process their full support.

Today the International Crisis Group (ICG) publishes a new report on the steps that must be taken if Burundi’s shaky transition from war to peace is to succeed.

“Burundi: Cent jours pour retrouver le chemin de la paix”*, (Burundi: 100 days to get the peace process back on track) describes how a change of tactics by Nelson Mandela’s facilitation team finally broke the deadlock. On 23 July, after two and a half years of negotiations, Mr Mandela announced that agreement had finally been reached on the presidency and vice presidency for the first half of a three-year transition period, which starts on 1 November.

However there is still no ceasefire in Burundi, attempts to negotiate with Hutu rebels have failed and the economy is in tatters. Two coup attempts in just over three months highlight dangerous divisions in the armed forces, and Tutsi extremists also threaten to derail attempts to build new institutions.

ICG Senior Analyst Dr Francois Grignon said: “The 100 days from Mandela’s announcement on 23 July to the beginning of the transition period on 1 November are crucial. The responsibility lies largely with FRODEBU – the main Hutu opposition party - to demonstrate its leadership by persuading Hutu rebel groups to put down their arms. But regional governments and international donors must also play their part. The Democratic Republic of Congo in particular must stop giving support to Hutu militias on its territory.”

ICG calls on the UN Security Council to take strong action against any individual or party that supports coup attempts or assassinations. These people must be threatened with sanctions and their foreign assets should be frozen.

The UN should also start making stand-by arrangements in order to deploy a peacekeeping force as soon as a ceasefire is reached. Senegal, Nigeria, Ghana and South Africa have all promised troops, but planning must start now or it may be too late.

Finally, Burundi needs money. In December 2000 in Paris, donor countries pledged U.S.$440 million to support Burundi’s transition. ICG urges those donors to release U.S.$100 million to stimulate economic activity, help establish new institutions and provide basic services.

Dr Grignon said: “Most of all the people of Burundi must feel confident that peace will deliver a brighter future. There are now less than 100 days left to convince them.”

*Full text available in French, Executive Summary only in English. Full English translation available in two weeks. Media contacts: Katy Cronin and Sascha Pichler at ICG Brussels, +32-2-536 00 64 or 70 All ICG reports are available on our website: www.crisisweb.org



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