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Cablegate: Burundi, Fnl Sign Ceasefire Agreement

VZCZCXYZ0000
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHDR #1508/01 2511038
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 081038Z SEP 06
FM AMEMBASSY DAR ES SALAAM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4727
INFO RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA PRIORITY 3055
RUEHJB/AMEMBASSY BUJUMBURA PRIORITY 2404
RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA PRIORITY 2832
RUEHLGB/AMEMBASSY KIGALI PRIORITY 0857
RUEHLS/AMEMBASSY LUSAKA PRIORITY 1728
RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI PRIORITY 0256
RUEHSA/AMEMBASSY PRETORIA PRIORITY 3220
RUCNDT/USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 0062

UNCLAS DAR ES SALAAM 001508

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

AF/E FOR BYODER; ALSO FOR AF/RSA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV BU TZ
SUBJECT: BURUNDI, FNL SIGN CEASEFIRE AGREEMENT


1. (U) SUMMARY: Burundi's president, Pierre Nkurunziza, and
Palipehutu-FNL's Chairperson, Agathon Rwasa, signed a
Comprehensive Ceasefire Agreement in Dar es Salaam September
7. The ceasefire is to take effect 72 hours from the signing
of the agreement. The agreement outlines further steps to be
taken, including the issue of the military returning to
barracks, but leaves the implementation of these modalities
to annexes still to be negotiated. The agreement's signing
ceremony capped the 27th Regional Summit on Burundi which was
chaired by Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni and facilitated
by South Africa's Minister of Safety and Security, Charles
Nqakula. The full text of the agreement is to be available
September 8. END SUMMARY

Last-minute negotiations delay ceremony
---------------------------------------
2. (U) The ceasefire signing ceremony, scheduled to begin at
1100 local time, commenced at 1630 local time due to
continuing negotiations. At noon local time Poloff asked
Aloys Mbonayo, Burundi's Ambassador to Tanzania, if an
agreement would be reached today and he replied the outcome
of the talks still hung in the balance. He said that there
was a tri-partite pre-summit underway involving Burundi,
Tanzania and South Africa, which was to be followed by a
meeting of all summit attendees. He added that two sets of
issues were being discussed: those between the Government of
Burundi (GOB) and the FNL, and issues internal to Burundi,
such as the recent resignation of Vice President Alice
Nzomukunda.

3. (U) At 1430 local time invited guests were admitted into
the room where the signing ceremony was to take place and
officials drifted in and out for about an hour. A stack of
papers was brought to the signing table then removed and news
circulated that the parties were discussing a single word on
which they had not yet agreed. At 1630, all parties involved
in the summit entered and the program of events was announced
by an official from Tanzania's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The Players...
--------------
4. (U) Present at the dais were:

Kenya's Foreign Minister, Raphael Tuju;
Zambia's Special Envoy to the Great Lakes Region, Dr. S.G.
Mwale;
Rwanda's Prime Minister, Bernard Makuza;
South Africa's President, Thabo Mbeki;
South Africa's Minister of Safety and Security, Charles
Nqakula;
Uganda's President, Yoweri Museveni;
Tanzania's President, Jakaya Kikwete;
Burundi's President, Pierre Nkurunziza;
Palipehutu-FNL's Chairperson, Agathon Rwasa;
African Union Commission's Deputy Chairperson, Patrick
Mazimhaka; and
United Nations Secretary General's Special Representative,
Nureldin Satti.

...and what they had to say
---------------------------
5. (U) The ceremony began with a series of brief speeches.
President Kikwete noted that the conflict in Burundi created
one of the largest number of refugees on the continent and an
equal number of internally displaced persons. President
Mbeki added that the continent of Africa had felt the pain of
suffering which had gone on for too long and said to
Nkurunziza and Rwasa "thank you for what you are about to
do." Several speakers paid respect to African leaders who
had been involved in the Burundi peace process, begun in
1995, specifically Julius Nyerere, Nelson Mandela and
Benjamin Mkapa.

6. (U) As chairperson of the summit, Museveni spoke at
several points during the ceremony. In his initial address,
he likened the problems of Burundi to those of Rwanda and
Uganda, saying all had caste elements and noted that
colonialism had "complicated" caste relations, leaving them
dangerously antagonistic. Museveni said he was glad that the
FNL had now come into the process and that the GOB had been
flexible. Museveni emphasized that partnership on three
levels--national parties, region and international
community--is what can, and ultimately did, bring results.
After the signing ceremony and with a tone of fatherly
advice, Museveni said: "We must get in the habit of the vote.
You vote one out, another one in--it's very simple." In
closing the ceremony, he articulated what other speakers had
alluded to: hope that this will be the last summit on
Burundi.

Burundi leaders from both sides look forward
--------------------------------------------
7. (U) Speaking in French, Burundi's President Nkurunziza
thanked Burundi's African partners and said the agreement
opened a new world for his country and will permit the people
of Burundi to live together. Nkurunziza said the agreement
signals the FNL's nobility and determination, referred to the
FNL as "chers compatriots" and said now Burundi's problems
are "our problems." Chairperson Rwasa said the agreement
demanded a lot of energy and sacrifice and cautioned that
this was only the beginning. Rwasa said such an agreement
could have been signed 25 years ago if the Burundi people had
had a drive for peace and a national pacifist spirit. Noting
that Burundi has a lot to learn about democracy, several
times Rwasa asked for the international community to continue
to contribute and assist Burundi, and not to hesitate to give
advice so that the Burundi people can advance in democracy
and in human rights.

Press Statement
---------------
8. (U) A press release left at the signing ceremony states
that the Comprehensive Ceasefire Agreement seeks to:

(a) Guarantee cessation of all hostilities, armed or
otherwise, including malicious public statements from both
sides within 72 hours following the signing of the agreement;

(b) Unveil a program for the repatriation of the FNL
leadership in the Great Lakes region and in the Diaspora
including their protection while in transit and static
protection in Burundi; and

(c) Disarm FNL combatants and transport them to
U.N.-supervised cantonment areas.

COMMENTS: Mood and VP vacancy
------------------------------
9. (SBU) Nkurunziza and Rwasa exhibited a stoic resolve
during the two-hour ceremony, looking straight ahead or
gazing down with arms crossed and barely looking at each
other. The mood of the summit's opoQacc{vkQcl?efQ-vQ

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