Top UN Envoy For Burundi Visits Provinces
TOP UN ENVOY FOR BURUNDI VISITS PROVINCES IN PUSH FOR PEACE AND SECURITY
New York, Aug 11 2004 5:00PM
The top United Nations envoy for Burundi today made her first visit outside the capital of the central African country, where there the world body is seeking to cement a multi-party, power-sharing government and pave the way to peace after more than a decade of civil war.
Secretary General Kofi Annan's Special Representative Carolyn McAskie travelled to Gitega, 120 kilometres southeast of Bujumbura, the capital, where the first of four regional offices of the UN Operation in Burundi (ONUB) has just been opened.
"ONUB and Burundians are partners and it is not for us to impose a solution," she said, hailing the 700 Ethiopian UN peacekeepers in the area as well two teams of military observers from eight different countries. "The important thing for elections is peace and security and for that disarmament is required."
Noting that unrest still reigned in the Bujumbura Rural region north of the capital - where thousands have fled the fighting and targeted killings, rape, armed robbery and looting that have been reported in the past - she said it was a priority to reach an agreement between the Government and the rebel Front National de Liberation (FNL), which has not joined in recent peace talks.
Last week Ms. McAskie attended a meeting in South Africa of 31 Burundian political parties on forming a multi-party, power-sharing government. ONUB's mandate includes contributing to the successful completion of free, transparent and peaceful elections.
Asked about international development aid for the small country of some 6 million inhabitants, she stressed that in the eyes of the international community Burundi was still a country at war and donors would be ready to come forward once the war ended.