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Cablegate: Talks Between Government of Burundi and Fnl Falter

VZCZCXYZ0021
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHJB #0534 2061520
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 251520Z JUL 07
FM AMEMBASSY BUJUMBURA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0444
INFO RUEHXR/RWANDA COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHDR/AMEMBASSY DAR ES SALAAM PRIORITY 0017
RHMFISS/CDR USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY

UNCLAS BUJUMBURA 000534

SIPDIS

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

DEPT FOR AF/C AND INR

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PINR PREL BY
SUBJECT: TALKS BETWEEN GOVERNMENT OF BURUNDI AND FNL FALTER


1. (U) Summary. Negotiations between the Government of
Burundi (GOB) and the PALIPEHUTU-National Liberation
Forces(FNL) in talks meant to start the 2006 cease-fire
agreement faltered July 21, leading to the gradual departure
of the FNL's delegation. The FNL's head of delegation,
Jean-Berchmans Ndayishimiye, departed July 21, saying he
would report to FNL leader Agathon Rwasa, and was followed
over the next three days by the remaining fourteen members of
the delegation. Following the FNL team's departure, the
National Defense Forces (FDN) spokesman told the Embassy July

25 that the FNL is creating new positions north of Bujumbura.
The FDN is increasing its presence in the affected areas and
following the new FNL movements, and no reports of
hostilities have been issued. Based on a recent meeting with
peace process facilitors additional details will be provided
in Septel. End Summary.

2. (U) Plans to implement the provisions of the September
2006 cease-fire agreement between the GOB and the FNL stalled
on July 21 after Jean-Berchmans Ndayishimiye, the FNL's head
of delegation, left Bujumbura. On July 22, while taking
questions from the Burundian media, FNL delegation spokesman,
Jacques Bigirimana, stated that Ndayishimiye left the talks
to make a personal report on their progress to FNL leader
Agathon Rwasa, saying that Ndayishimiye needed to report to
Rwasa "on the battlefield."

3. (U) According to media reports, three senior members of
the FNL delegation, including two officers, on July 23
"jumped the fence" of the compound where they were being
housed during the negotiations, and retreated back to the
bush. Following the disappearance of the three FNL members,
the South African Protection Force removed security guards
assigned to the delegation, and took away vehicles rented by
the African Union for the delegation's use during the talks.
The next day the rest of the FNL delegation, twelve people in
total, left Bujumbura, alleging harassment by the South
African guards assigned for their protection. The South
African Protection Forces stated to the media they allowed
them to leave, saying that the FNL delegates were not under
arrest.

4. (SBU) In a conversation on July 23, Tanzanian Ambassador
Brigadier General Francis Mndolwa appeared visibly frustrated
by the FNL's actions, saying that his government had received
no advance warning of the move. Mndolwa did not speculate on
Rwasa's whereabouts, saying only that Rwasa had "returned to
the bush." Tanzania has actively encouraged the GOB-FNL
talks.

5. (U) Following the departure of the FNL delegation, FDN
spokesman Colonel Adolphe Manirakiza told Embassy July 25
that the FNL is creating new positions in two provinces north
of the capital. Manirakiza stated that the FDN is observing
FNL movement in the Kanyosha Commune of Bujumbura Rurale
Province, and in the Rukoko Forest in the southern region of
Bubanza Province, just north of Bujumbura Rurale. Manirakiza
said that the FDN is following the new FNL movements, and is
increasing its presence in the two provinces. He stressed
there have been no reports of hostilities. (Note: Bujumbura
Rurale and Bubanza provinces have long been FNL strongholds,
and travel restriction for U.S. Embassy personnel in
Bujumbura Rurale are still in effect.)

6. (SBU) Comment. The departure from the talks in Bujumbura
by the FNL suggests serious reservations on its part about
the future of the cease-fire agreement. It remains to be
seen if the FNL, by leaving the talks in Bujumbura, is
attempting to gain leverage for future talks, or if it
sincerely believes that the GOB is not negotiating in full
faith. End Comment.
MOLLER

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