Burundi will be able to restore stability only through free and inclusive elections [fr]
Statement by Mr. François Delattre, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
Security Council - 14 June 2019
I would like to begin by warmly thanking Assistant Secretary-General Oscar Fernandez Taranco, African Union Commissioner Smaïl Chergui and Ambassador Jürg Lauber for their important briefings. I shall be brief, in keeping with the President’s request so that we have enough time for consultations.
I would like to highlight three points: Burundi remains at a crossroads one year out from the elections; the region’s mobilization is crucial; and the United Nations must remain fully committed to supporting regional efforts.
First, Burundi will be able to restore stability only through the holding of free and inclusive elections in 2020, as has been mentioned.
The elections are in one year’s time, which is practically tomorrow. It is crucial that Burundi move forward and ensure that those deadlines are prepared for in the best possible way. We welcome President Nkurunziza’s commitment not to stand for re-election and the recognition of the main opposition party in February. Further action is needed, including ensuring free access to Burundian territory for all parties and respecting the rights of opponents. France calls on the Burundian authorities to fully respect their international human rights commitments and will continue to monitor the humanitarian and human rights situation with great attention.
Secondly, the mobilization of the region is crucial.
The statement delivered by the Commissioner for Peace and Security of the African Union before the Council is especially welcome. I would like to commend the African Union’s efforts and encourage it to continue its commitment in that direction, with a view to supporting Burundi and the efforts of the East African Community (EAC).
Through the mediation entrusted to the EAC, the States of the region have supported the quest for a lasting solution to the political crisis that broke out 2015. In that regard, I welcome the commitment of the mediator, President Museveni, and the contribution of the facilitator, former President Mkapa. The Presidents of Kenya and Tanzania were invited by their peers to also contribute to the process. Today it is important to assess the work being done in the region. Let us therefore all remain engaged — the Community of East African States, the African Union and the guarantors of the Arusha Peace and Reconciliation Agreement — in order to support Burundi on its path towards stabilization.
Thirdly, it is important in that regard for the United Nations to remain fully committed to supporting regional efforts.
One year prior to the elections, given that certain balances envisioned in the Arusha Agreement are being reconsidered and that concerns are being raised by the presence of hotbeds of tension in the region, the Security Council cannot become disengaged on the situation in Burundi. Moreover, the work of Mr. Kafando and his teams is more necessary than ever. It enables support for the mediation efforts of the Community of East African States and to work with all stakeholders to develop confidence-building measures in order to create a climate conducive to political dialogue and facilitate an inclusive reconciliation process.
I thank Mr. Kafando for his efforts and encourage him to continue his consultations, in order to quickly present options on the role that the United Nations could play in support of regional efforts to move towards the normalization of the situation in Burundi.