Burundi says rebels ready to move on peace deal

Burundi said on Sunday that leaders of the rebel Forces for National Liberation (FNL) would return to the central African nation by May to finalise a peace deal signed in September 2006.

Burundi says rebels ready to move on peace deal
Talks on the peace agreement were suspended last July when FNL members walked out after accusing mediators of bias.

The South African official mediating the talks told Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza that FNL leader Agathon Rwasa would return to Bujumbura for peace talks with the government, presidential spokesman Leonidas Hatungimana said.

'This is a great news for the Burundian people,' Hatungimana said.

Mediator Charles Nqakula met Nkurunziza to brief him on his meeting on Saturday in Tanzania with leaders of the FNL, the last remaining insurgent group in Burundi.

Hatungimana said the mediator also confirmed that the truce monitoring team, which comprises FNL members, government officials and mediators, would resume work on April 1.

An FNL spokesman said all members of the rebel movement were ready to return to Bujumbura if their security was guaranteed.

'We agreed with the mediator to join the joint verification monitoring mechanism.

'But two important things should be done first. The parliament should pass a law which grants immunity to all members of FNL. Secondly, we need assurances for our safety,' FNL spokesman Pasteur Habimana said from Dar es Salaam.

The FNL insurgency is seen as the final barrier to stability in Burundi, a coffee growing nation of 8 million, where more than a decade of ethnic conflict has killed 300,000 people.


Güncelleme Tarihi: 02 Mart 2008, 17:21