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Mandate of Burundi Peacekeepers Extended

Burundi: Security Council Extends Mandate of UN Peacekeepers Until Mid-January

New York, Nov 30 2005 6:00PM

Noting that "factors of instability" remain in post-election Burundi, the United Nations Security Council today extended the mandate of the peacekeeping UN mission there for two months until mid-January.

The 15-member Council voted unanimously "to extend the mandate of the United Nations Operation in Burundi (ONUB) until 15 January."

In his report to the Council on the situation, Secretary-General Kofi Annan had recommended extending the mandate of a reduced ONUB until next May, saying that the most urgent priority was to ensure that the conflict with the rebel Palipehutu-National Liberation Forces (Palipehutu-FNL) is brought to an end.

Meeting the press afterwards, the Russian Permanent Representative, Ambassador Andrey Denisov, read a statement saying the extension of the mandate was a technical one, to allow time for discussion of ONUB's future.

Members would now start to review ONUB's mandate, taking into account the development of the situation in Burundi and in the region, as well as the numerous challenges waiting to be addressed, he said.

The Council called on ONUB and the Government of Burundi to hold close consultations on ONUB's gradual disengagement, Mr. Denisov said.

On the question of continued fighting by the hold-out rebel militia, "The members of the Council once again call upon the Palipehutu-FNL to join the peace process without further delays or conditions. They welcome the willingness shown by the Government to achieve a peaceful solution."

Through Burundian Foreign Minister Antoinette Batumubwira, who participated in the meeting, Mr. Denisov said, "The members of the Council took this opportunity to congratulate the people of Burundi for the successful conduct of the electoral process and the peaceful transfer of authority to an elected Government."

The Council also encouraged the new Burundian authorities to continue on the course of stability and national reconciliation and to promote social concord in their country, Mr. Denisov said.

ENDS

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