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The Peace and Security of the African Union (AU), at its 794th meeting, held on 19 September 2018, adopted the following decision on the situation in Burundi:

Council,

1.        Takes note of the briefing made by the AU Commissioner for Peace and Security, H.E. Smail Chergui, on the evolution of the situation in Burundi. Council also takes note of the statement made by the Permanent Representative of the Republic of Burundi to the AU, H.E. Ambassador Deudonne Ndabarushimana;


2.        Recalls decision Assembly/AU /Dec.695(XXXI) adopted by the 31st Ordinary Session of the AU Assembly of Heads of State and Government, held from 1 to 2 July 2018 in Nouakchott, Mauritania. Council also recalls all its previous pronouncements and decisions on the situation in Burundi, particularly, Communique PSC/PR/COMM. (DLXV), adopted at its 656th meeting held on 17 December 2015; Communiqué PSC/PR/COMM.(DLI) adopted at its 551st meeting held on 17 October 2015;  Communiqué PSC/PR/COMM.2(DXV) adopted at its 515th meeting held on 13 June 2015; and Communiqué PSC/PR/COMM.(DXXIII) adopted at its 523rd meeting held on 9 July 2015; and Press Statement PSC/BR/PR.(DXXXI) adopted at its 531st meeting held on 6 August 2015;


3.    Takes note of the relative peace and stability prevailing in Burundi and re-affirms, once again, the commitment of the AU to the scrupulous respect of the letter and spirit of the August 2000 Arusha Peace and Reconciliation Agreement, which constitutes the cornerstone for peace, security and stability in Burundi and of which the AU and the countries of the region are guarantors, along with the members of the international community. In this regard, Council encourages all Burundian stakeholders to preserve the gains achieved since the signing of the Arusha Agreement and to participate in the fifth Round of the Inter-Burundian Dialogue which is scheduled to take place from 18-24 October 2018 in Arusha, Tanzania;


4.    Reaffirms the AU’s full support to the mediation efforts by the East African Community. In this regard, Council expresses deep appreciation to the EAC Mediator, H.E. President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and the Facilitator, H.E Former President Benjamin Mkapa of Tanzania, for their relentless efforts in the Burundi peace process and urges all Burundian stakeholders and the other concerned actors to support and extend full cooperation to the Mediator. In the same context, Council requests the Commission to accompany Burundi in efforts towards the convening of an all-inclusive dialogue, strengthening of democracy and respecting human rights, in line with Decision Assembly/AU /Dec. 695(XXXI) adopted by the 31st Ordinary Session of the AU Assembly of Heads of State and Government held from 1 to 2 July 2018 in Nouakchott, Mauritania;


5.    Commends the Human Rights Observers and the Military Experts for their dedication to duty and appeals for the mobilization of resources in support of the activities for the second phase of the observer mission, reiterates its appeal to the Burundian Government and other concerned stakeholders to provide full cooperation to the Human Rights Observers and the Military Experts, with a view to facilitating the effective implementation of their respective mandate;


6.    Also expresses appreciation to the countries of the region, which have are hosting Burundian refugees and reiterates the call for the mobilization of all necessary support for their safe return home bearing in mind the need to fully comply with all relevant AU, regional and international instruments relating to refugee rights and protection;


7.    Underscores the need for the Commission to scale up the implementation of Quick Impact and Peace Strengthening Projects, as a way of promoting social cohesion, reconciliation and peacebuilding among the population;


8.    Reiterates the call by the Assembly for the European Union to lift the sanctions imposed on Burundi, with a view to facilitating socio-economic recovery in the country.


9.    Requests the Commission to continue to engage the Government of Burundi with a view to expeditiously signing the Memorandum of Understanding for the deployment of the Human Rights Observers and Military Experts.


10.    Decides to reduce the number of Human Rights Observers and Military Experts and to extend their mandate until further notice, bearing in mind the relative peace and stability prevailing in the country, and pending the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between the AU Commission and the Government of Burundi.


11.        Decides to remain seized of the matter.


Posted by Limi Mohammed

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