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 You are in: Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs: Press Relations Office > Press Releases (Other) > 2002 > December
Press Statement
Philip T. Reeker, Deputy Spokesman
Washington, DC
December 3, 2002


Burundi: Cease-fire Agreement with the Forces for the Defense of Democracy

The United States welcomes the cease-fire agreement reached today by the Government of the Republic of Burundi and the Forces for the Defense of Democracy faction led by Pierre Nkurunziza. This agreement is a significant step towards a comprehensive peace for the people of Burundi, as their country continues its transition to democracy under the Arusha Peace and Reconciliation Accords signed in August 2000. We recognize the courage, responsibility and leadership shown by Burundian President Pierre Buyoya and Chairman Pierre Nkurunziza of the Forces for the Defense of Democracy (FDD).

We commend the dedication of the Chairman of the regional effort, President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, the hospitality of the host of the talks President Benjamin Mkapa of Tanzania, the assistance provided by President El Hadj Omar Bongo of Gabon, and the facilitation of South African Deputy President Jacob Zuma with strong support from President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa. We must also remember the work of former Presidents Julius Nyerere and Nelson Mandela who constructed the framework of what became the Arusha accords, upon which this agreement is based. The United States firmly supports further regional efforts to bring a conclusive end to fighting in Burundi.

There remains one rebel combatant group that refuses to lay down its arms, the National Liberation Front (FNL) faction led by Agathon Rwasa. This agreement between the Government of Burundi and the Forces for Defense of Democracy shows how isolated Mr. Rwasa's group has become. The United States calls on the National Liberation Front, now the only remaining obstacle to the security and safety of the people of Burundi, to join their countrymen in seeking a constructive and peaceful transition to democracy.

Released on December 3, 2002

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