THE SECRETARY-GENERAL REMARKS AT PRESS CONFERENCE IN BURUNDI

BUJUMBURA, February 23, 2016 Ladies and Gentlemen,

Political unrest, violence, impunity and instability have profound humanitarian consequences.  We must shift from a focus on crisis response to a culture of early action; a preventive diplomacy.

That is one of the main reasons I am in Burundi today and it is one of the main calls to action when I am convening world leaders at the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul in May 2016.

      I was last in Burundi in June 2010, only weeks before the general elections.
      I spoke about the peace dividends of the Arusha Agreement and the Global Ceasefire Agreement. Those accords put Burundi on a path to economic recovery and national reconciliation.
      The effort that ended the civil war hinged on the willingness of former battlefield enemies to sit at the same table and become partners in Burundi’s common future.

 

      At my invitation last evening, representatives of the political actors, from both the Government , ruling party and opposition party, sat down together to discuss the future of the country.  Nothing prevents them from continuing on this course.
      I was very much encouraged that the Political Leaders, whether they are sitting in government ruling party or opposition, they promised that they will engage in inclusive dialogue. This is what President Nkurunziza also confirmed that he will be engaging in an inclusive dialogue.
      Burundi’s political leaders must be willing to summon the courage and confidence that will make a credible political process possible and ensure that the people of this beautiful nation can once again live in peace and enjoy human rights.
      I welcome the decision by His Excellency President Nkurunziza to withdrawal some media bans, cancel the arrest warrants and release detainees as good will gestures. President Nkurunziza told me this morning that he will release a list of twelve hundred detainees and take other measures. I have asked him, while I welcome these generous support and measures but I would expect that additional measures should be taken. This is an encouraging step. I hope again additional measures will be taken.
      My Special Adviser, Mr. Jamal Benomar, has deployed his team in Burundi. They are working with the Government to support a credible and inclusive political dialogue and advise the authorities on addressing security concerns.
      I have full confidence and trust in Mr. Benomar and I hope that the Burundian government will work closely with him.

Mesdames et Messieurs,

Il en va de l’avenir du Burundi.

Il faudra toute la détermination collective de tous les Burundais et de leurs partenaires régionaux et internationaux pour remettre le pays sur la voie de la paix, du développement et de la réconciliation.

Telle est l’aspiration du peuple burundais; telle est le futur qu’il mérite. Il n’y a pas de temps à perdre.

Merci.

Thank you very much.

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