1 December 2007

Burundi: The Anticipated Meeting Between Nqakula And Rwasa Did Not Take Place

Bujumbura — The meeting between Agathon Rwasa, the leader of FNL-PALIPEHUTU, the Tanzanian cooperation minister, and the facilitator, Charles Nqakula, did not take place.

This meeting was supposed to take place in Dar Es Salaam today as was promised by Nqakula on Wednesday in New York before of the UN Security Council. At that time, the Security Council told the facilitator to resume talks that would lead Agathon Rwasa to return to the joint truce monitoring commission.

FNL sources indicate that the FNL-PALIPEHUTU leader did not get his ticket. FNL leaders do not refuse returning to the truce monitoring commission but demand prior talks with the region initiative for peace in Burundi and the mediation team.

The FNL delegation that was supposed to negotiate a permanent ceasefire walked out of the joint truce monitoring commission on 21 July 2007. The 28 person-FNL delegation was accused of stealing rifles belonging to their South African guards serving under the African Union. The attempts of the government and the mediation to sideline FNL leaders by favouring schisms within FNL-PALIPEHUTU resulted in the deaths of more than 40 so-called FNL dissidents. The peace deal that was struck in July last year between President Nkurunziza and Agathon Rwasa has been given space and time to derail. Recruitment and forced contribution have resumed in the strongholds of FNL-PALIPEHUTU.

The recent statement issued by the defence ministry was seen by many Burundians as a declaration of the resumption of hostilities and has caused many people to flee their households in fear for their security.

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