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Note: This document is from the archive of the Africa Policy E-Journal, published by the Africa Policy Information Center (APIC) from 1995 to 2001 and by Africa Action from 2001 to 2003. APIC was merged into Africa Action in 2001. Please note that many outdated links in this archived document may not work.

Burundi: Regional Summit

Burundi: Regional Summit
Date distributed (ymd): 970919
Document reposted by APIC

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Region: Central Africa
Issue Areas: +security/peace+
Summary Contents:
This posting contains the text of the Joint Communique of the Regional Summit on the Burundi Conflict, and several related updates from the UN's Integrated Regional Information Network in Nairobi. The Summit participants decided to maintain the existing sanctions against the Burundi regime and to ask former Tanzanian President Julius Nyerere to continue his role as mediator.

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Department of Humanitarian Affairs
Integrated Regional Information Network for the Great Lakes (UN DHA IRIN )
Tel: +254 2 622123 Fax: +254 2 622129

These and other related documents are regularly available on ReliefWeb (

Joint Communique of the Fifth Regional Summit on the Burundi Conflict

  1. At the invitation of President Benjamin William Mkapa of the United Republic of Tanzania, Presidents Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe and current Chairman of the Organization of African Unity (OAU); Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, Pasteur Bizimungu of Rwanda, Laurent-Desire Kabila of the Democratic Republic of Congo; Prime Minister Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia and Brigadier General Godfrey Miyanda, Vice President, representing President Frederick Chiluba of the Republic of Zambia met on 3rd and 4th September, 1997 in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and deliberated on the conflict in Burundi.
  2. Also participating in the Regional Summit were the Foreign Minister of Kenya, Hon. S. Kalonzo Musyoka, representing President Daniel T. arap Moi of the Republic of Kenya, the OAU Secretary General, Dr. Salim Ahmed Salim and the Facilitator of the Burundi Peace Process, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere.
  3. The Regional Summit received a comprehensive report from the Facilitator of the Peace Process, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere on his efforts to facilitate a negotiated settlement to the conflict in Burundi including his recent endeavours to convene on 25th August, 1997 in Arusha, Tanzania, a meeting of all parties to the conflict.
  4. The Regional Summit expressed its regret that inspite of all these efforts, there has been no progress in the negotiation process. It expressed, in particular, its disappointment over the refusal of the Government of Burundi to take part in the first session of all party negotiations in Arusha.
  5. The Regional Summit recalled the previous decisions taken in Arusha I, II, III and IV Regional Summits. The Summit reaffirmed that the objective of the negotiations is to achieve a new dispensation based on the principles of democracy and security for all. In this respect, it is expected that the negotiating parties will come up with transitional mechanisms towards the attainment of this ultimate objective.
  6. The Regional Summit decided to maintain the existing sanctions and to ensure their scrupulous application. In this regard, the Summit decided to create a Special Secretariat comprising representatives of all the participating countries working under the Regional Sanctions Co-ordinating Committee, to monitor compliance by all the participating countries.
  7. The Regional Summit was informed of Mwalimu Julius Nyerere's position to step aside as Facilitator of the Burundi Peace Process. The Summit was firmly of the view that the continued role of Mwalimu is crucial for a negotiated settlement of the conflict in Burundi. It reaffirmed its confidence in the Facilitator and urged him to continue.
  8. The Regional Summit also discussed the issue of the venue of the All - Party Talks. It took note of the position of the President of the United Republic of Tanzania, not to host the Talks. The leaders nonetheless insisted that the next round of Talks be held in Arusha. The Summit urged all the parties, including the Burundi Government to take part in those Talks, which will be convened by the Facilitator, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere. In order to create a propitious climate for the talks, the Summit called upon the Burundi Government to halt the trials it is currently conducting until such time that a negotiated solution is in place to deal with such crimes; to release unconditionally the Speaker of the National Assembly, Leonce Ngendakumana, the former President Sylivestre Ntibantunganya and the former President Jean Baptiste Bagaza to travel freely and participate in the talks; and, to immediately disband the regroupment camps.
  9. The Regional Summit reaffirmed its determination and commitment to promote a negotiated settlement in Burundi and to fully back the efforts of the Facilitator in this direction. The Summit further declared its preparedness to adopt additional measures to deal with any obstruction to the negotiation process.
  10. The Regional Summit appealed to all OAU member States, the United Nations and the rest of the international community to actively support the peace process in Burundi.
  11. The Regional Summit requested President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda to convey to the Government of Burundi the spirit and content of this Summit.
  12. The Fifth Regional Summit expressed its appreciation to President Benjamin William Mkapa for once again hosting the Regional Summit on the conflict in Burundi and to the Government and the people of the United Republic of Tanzania for the warm reception and hospitality extended to all delegations.


[Transcribed verbatim by UN DHA IRIN. Via the UN DHA Integrated Regional Information Network "Wire" mailing list. The material contained in this communication may not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations or its agencies. If you re-print, copy, archive or re-post this item, please retain this credit and disclaimer.]

IRIN Weekly Roundup 20-97 of Main Events in the Great Lakes region,
covering the period 29 Aug-4 September 1997 (excerpt)

BURUNDI: Regional summit decides to keep sanctions

Regional leaders, who met in the Tanzanian capital Dar es Salaam on Thursday to discuss the crisis in Burundi, decided to maintain economic sanctions against the country and rejected the offer of mediator Julius Nyerere to stand down. Burundi had accused Nyerere of a lack of neutrality and bias against the government. Nyerere offered to stand aside if it would help the peace process, but said his place would have to be taken by regional countries and the international community. Burundian head of state Pierre Buyoya was not invited to the Dar es Salaam meeting which grouped the leaders of Rwanda, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Zambia. Joint OAU-UN Special Representative for the Great Lakes region Mohamed Sahnoun and OAU Secretary-General Salim Ahmed Salim were also present. Kenyan President Daniel arap Moi boycotted the meeting, accusing regional countries of demanding tough measures against Burundi which they then failed to enforce.

The Burundi government meanwhile proposed holding peace talks on September 29 but stressed they should not take place in Tanzania. All-party talks, under the mediation of Nyerere, collapsed last month after the Burundi authorities declined to attend the meeting in Arusha.

The collapse of the fragile peace process in Burundi coincided with increased tension on its border with Tanzania. Burundi maintains Tanzania is harbouring Hutu rebels, while Tanzania counters that Bujumbura is planning to stage cross-border military strikes on refugee camps. On Monday, Burundian Energy and Mines Minister Bernard Barandereka claimed Tanzania was trying to "annex" Burundi by allowing Burundian rebels to maintain bases on its territory.

IRIN Emergency Update No. 245 on the Great Lakes
(Wednesday 10 September 1997) (excerpt)

UGANDA: Museveni explains decision to keep Burundi embargo

President Yoweri Museveni explained that regional leaders decided to maintain sanctions on Burundi until the parties involved created a mechanism to ensure democracy and security for all Burundians. Ugandan radio said he called for an end to the "current mentality among the majority Hutus that they can be in power through the elimination of the minority Tutsis, while the Tutsis think they can remain in power through force and denial of democracy". He made the comments yesterday during talks with the EU envoy to Uganda.

IRIN Emergency Update No. 249 on the Great Lakes
(Tuesday, 16 September 97) (excerpt)

BURUNDI: Grenade blast kills three, injures 17

A grenade attack on a bar near the capital Bujumbura killed three people and wounded 17 others, Reuters reported an army spokesman as saying. "A grenade was launched into a bar at 8.40 p.m. in Gatumba," Major Mamert Sinarinzi was quoted as saying. It was not clear who was behind the attack.

Tutsi party begins lawsuit against regime

The mainly Tutsi party which once held sole power in Burundi has begun legal action against the regime of Major Pierre Buyoya over potential talks with Hutu rebels, its leader said. AFP reported the court challenge was disclosed as Hutu extremists killed seven people, wounded 13 and kidnapped three others overnight in an attack on a displaced persons' camp in southwestern Burundi, according to the Tutsi-dominated army. Charles Mukasi, chairman of Unity for National Progress (UPRONA), late on Monday told AFP that his party had opened a suit against Interior Minister Epitace Bayaganakandi for "abuse of office and interference in UPRONA's management". He has accused Lieutenant-Colonel Bayaganakandi of working on behalf of Buyoya's regime in seeking to break up UPRONA "to give the impression that everybody is in favour of negotiations" with extremist rebels waging a guerrilla war against the government.

IRIN Emergency Update No. 252 on the Great Lakes
(Friday, 19 September 97) (excerpts)

BURUNDI: UPRONA leader arrested

Burundi President Pierre Buyoya told Reuters today (Friday) that he was ready to negotiate with Hutu rebel leader Leonard Nyangoma's Conseil National pour la Defence de la democratie (CNDD). "Our wish is to talk to everybody, every group including Nyangoma's," he said. His comments follow the arrest yesterday of the head of the mainly Tutsi party Union pour le Progress National (UPRONA), Charles Mukasi, as he held a press conference condemning the negotiations policy. The government said Mukasi was detained because he flouted a ban on the briefing, news agencies reported. Mukasi was released later on Thursday.

A serious split has opened in UPRONA, formerly Burundi's sole party. One wing is in Buyoya's government and favours negotiations with the rebels in principle, while Mukasi's faction is hostile to any talks with those seen as "genocidal killers" opposed to any power-sharing with Tutsis, AFP said. The government has agreed to participate in all-party peace negotiations to be held in Arusha, Tanzania, under the mediation of Tanzanian elder statesman Julius Nyerere. A date has not yet been fixed. On Monday, Mukasi said he had begun legal action to block dialogue with CNDD.

Buyoya had boycotted talks in Arusha last month in protest over Nyerere's alleged bias and Tanzania's alleged support for Hutu rebels. A local source said Buyoya, under intense regional pressure to resume the peace process, would use the talks as a forum to present the government's case against Nyerere and Tanzania, "and to buy time". According to AFP, Tanzanian President Benjamin Mpaka said yesterday that Buyoya is "not confident of his position. That is why he has been making unsubstantiated accusations."

Displaced flee to Bubanza

Insecurity continues to plague Burundi's northern Bubanza province, humanitarian sources report. The widespread use of land mines has made "access to many areas impossible." Nevertheless, people from northwestern Cibitoke, displaced by fighting between rival Hutu rebel groups Phalipehutu and CNDD continue to spill into the province. More than 30,000 displaced have gathered in and around the town of Bubanza. Kayanza province to the east is also receiving a stream of people escaping the violence.

Meanwhile, although the governor of Kayanza has suspended the return of regrouped people because of security concerns, the process is still going ahead in Maramvya province, northeast of Bujumbura.

This material is being reposted for wider distribution by the Africa Policy Information Center (APIC), the educational affiliate of the Washington Office on Africa. APIC's primary objective is to widen the policy debate in the United States around African issues and the U.S. role in Africa, by concentrating on providing accessible policy-relevant information and analysis usable by a wide range of groups and individuals.

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