December 2007 Monthly Forecast

Posted 29 November 2007
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AFRICA

Burundi

Expected Council Action

The Council is expected to adopt a resolution renewing the mandate of the UN Integrated Office in Burundi (BINUB), which expires on 31 December.

Recent Developments
The situation in the country remained tense with a political impasse in parliament and the Forces nationales de libération (Palipehutu-FNL) not committed to the Joint Verification and Monitoring Mechanism (JVMM), as well as fighting between rival factions within the FNL. On 28 September, President Pierre Nkuranziza announced a power sharing agreement with rival parties to end the deadlock that had paralysed parliament, rendering it unable to pass laws. Subsequently, on 7 November, First Deputy President Martin Nduwimana resigned to help further unravel the political deadlock.

In early September, heavy clashes were reported between FNL fighters loyal to their leader, Agathon Rwasa, and those opposed to him in the northern suburbs of Bujumbura. The FNL later accused the government of supporting the splinter group. In mid-September, thousands fled their homes in the northwest Burundi province of Bubanza following raids thought to be by the FNL. On 25 October, the FNL attacked a position occupied by the splinter group in Bujumbura Rural Province.

The South African facilitator in Burundi’s peace process, Charles Nqakula, reportedly said on 15 October that the FNL will rejoin the JVMM. Subsequently, media reports indicated that mediators were investigating whether defectors from the FNL leader were genuine (the FNL was reported in September to have indicated that they would not rejoin the Mechanism unless the mediator was replaced, mainly because of the facilitator’s stance on provision of protection for FNL defectors wanting to join the peace process). Concrete progress in getting the FNL to rejoin the JVMM is still lacking.

At press time, the Council was expected to hold an open briefing on 28 November where the South African facilitator in Burundi’s peace process was to report to the Council on the latest developments regarding his facilitation activities.

Related Developments in the Peacebuilding Commission
The Chairman of the country-specific configuration of the PBC on Burundi, Norwegian Ambassador Johan Løvald, conducted a fact-finding visit to the country from 5 to 7 September to follow up on the deteriorating situation there. He voiced concern about the general uncertainty, the stalemate in Burundi’s parliament, its troubling budgetary situation and the suspension of the work of the JVMM.

In November, five PBC country-specific configuration meetings on Burundi were held in informal settings on the development of a monitoring and tracking mechanism for the strategic framework for peacebuilding in the country (adopted in June). Members are reported to have reached agreement on the general structure and approach of the mechanism and at press time were involved in deliberations regarding benchmarks to be attained under the mechanism.


Key Issues

A key issue is progress with achieving the benchmarks of BINUB’s mandate, set out in the 14 August 2006 addendum to the Secretary General’s June 2006 report on the UN Operation in Burundi (ONUB). They include elements on peace consolidation, security sector reform and civilian disarmament, human rights and justice and socioeconomic development. Another key issue is how far the Council should go at this time in addressing developments in the country and how far it should go in allowing space for the PBC to address issues in the first instance.

Options
The Council’s options include:

  • requesting a briefing from the chair of the Burundi PBC country-specific configuration;
  • renewing the BINUB mandate but without any amendments; and
  • renewing the BINUB mandate but also taking up a number of current issues with a view to reinforcing the PBC, including urging the FNL to commit fully to re-engage in the JVMM.

Council Dynamics
There appears to be general agreement among members on extending the mandate of BINUB, a situation influenced largely by concern about the fragile political and security situation in the country and the need to meet the clearly set out benchmarks of the UN Office.

France, the African members and Belgium have the lead on this issue.

UN Documents 

Selected Resolutions

  • S/RES/1719 (25 October 2006) established BINUB.
  • S/RES/1606 (20 June 2005) requested the Secretary-General to start negotiations on transitional justice mechanisms in Burundi.

Selected Security Council Presidential Statement

  • S/PRST/2007/16 (30 May 2007) was a statement in which the Council welcomed the establishment of BINUB and called on parties to resolve outstanding issues in a spirit of cooperation.

Selected Secretary-General’s Report

  • S/2007/682 (26 November 2007) was the latest report on BINUB.
  • S/2007/287 (17 May 2007) was the first BINUB report.

Other Selected Documents

  • SC/9056 (21 June 2007) was a Council press statement on the 17 June talks in Dar es Salaam between the president of Burundi and the leader of the rebel FNL.
  • PBC/1/BDI/2 (21 May 2007) was the report of the PBC mission to Burundi.

Other Relevant Facts

Executive Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of BINUB

Youssef Mahmoud (Tunisia)

Size and Composition of Mission (1 January 2007)

  • Proposed strength: 448 personnel (including 141 international civilians, 235 local civilians, four military observers, 11 police, 51 UN volunteers)
  • Strength as of October 2007: 399 personnel (including 116 international civilians, 217 local civilians, eight military observers, 12 police, 46 UN volunteers)

Duration

January 2007 to present; mandate expires 31 December

Recommended Budget

$33.1 million

Full forecast