Security Council members call ceasefire in Burundi a foremost priority

In a statement to the press, the Council President, Ambassador Jagdish Koonjul of Mauritius, said the members “underlined that the ceasefire was the foremost priority.” Urging rebel groups to cease hostilities immediately and to enter into negotiations, the President said “there could be no justification whatsoever” for them to carry out any attacks. Members of the Council encouraged all States, in particular those in the region, to continue to support the facilitation efforts led by Gabonese President Omar Bongo and South African Vice President Jacob Zuma to bring the armed groups into the peace process, the President said. Looking to the regional context, Ambassador Koonjul stressed the importance of the dialogue between Burundi and its neighbours. He said the members welcomed the improved bilateral relations between the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Burundi, particularly the outcome of the recent visit of Burundi’s Foreign Minister to Kinshasa. “Council members strongly encouraged the Governments of the DRC and of Burundi to cooperate further together in this regard,” the President said. On the relief effort, Council members reiterated their call on donors to enhance humanitarian activities and development cooperation with Bujumbura and to honour as soon as possible past commitments on aid to Burundi. Council members also commended the South African protection unit for its positive contribution to the peace process in Burundi, according to the President. Ambassador Koonjul’s statement followed a closed-door briefing by the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Sir Kieran Prendergast, on the situation in Burundi.