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Friday, 2 November, 2001, 09:51 GMT
Calm in Bujumbura greets new era
Mr Mandela with Burundian leaders
Mr Mandela now steps down after two years as mediator
The Burundian capital, Bujumbura, is reported to have been unusually quiet overnight following the swearing in of the transitional government.

A BBC correspondent in Bujumbura says there has been a distinct lack of gunfire.

Your country has bled enough

Nelson Mandela

Although fighting continues between the army and Hutu rebel groups, the new administration, incorporating both the majority Hutus and minority Tutsis ethnic groups, has been portrayed as a vital step towards ending the eight year civil war.

Mr Mandela, who brokered the agreement, told the new government on Thursday that much remained to be done before peace is finally established in Burundi.

"Your country has bled enough. It and its people now deserve peace," he said.

Mr Mandela now steps down as mediator after two years but promised to remain a "moral guarantor" of the peace deal.

The secretary-general of the newly formed, African Union, Amara Essy, said Burundi's new transitional government represents a big step towards peace in the country.


Burundian President Pierre Buyoya, who is a Tutsi, will remain in office for the first 18 months before handing over to a Hutu.

Buyoya and his deputy
Hutus and Tutsis are sharing out cabinet posts

Speaking at the swearing in ceremony in front of Mr Mandela, President Buyoya condemned the pressure that had been put on Burundi's leaders.

He said in other parts of the world negotiations begin with a ceasefire deal but in Burundi the opposite happened.

This had resulted, he said, in a peace accord which had not managed to bring peace.

People's senate

A new cabinet has been approved by Burundi's Parliament and 14 out of the 26 portfolios will go to Hutus and 12 to Tutsis.

South African soldier in Bujumbura
South African soldiers are in Burundi to protect Hutu politicians

The Tutsis hold the positions of defence, foreign affairs and finance whilst the Hutus keep the ministries of public security and interior.

Under the new arrangements, the legislature would consist of the National Assembly with 60% of seats reserved for Hutus and 40% for Tutsis.

For the first time Burundi will also get a senate which will consist of prominent citizens from both ethnic groups.

But the new government still has to tackle the problem of the two main Hutu rebel groups who have said they will contine to wage war against the Tutsis, who have dominated Burundi politics for nearly 40 years.

Security has been tight in Bujumbura and South African troops are on the ground to ensure the security of the mainly Hutu politicians returning from exile.

Some hardline Tutsis have urged their supporters to attack the South African protection force which is expected to be in Burundi until June next year.

But a spokesman for the South African defence forces said any steps necessary would be taken to protect South Africa's troops.

The war between the Tutsi-dominated government and the majority Hutu rebels was started in 1993 following the death of an elected Hutu president.

It has cost the lives of hundreds of thousands of people, and caused massive suffering.

The BBC's Ishbel Matheson
"Government ministers... have taken an oath of office pledging to fight the ideology of genocide and exclusion"
Domitien Ndayizeye, Vice-President of Burundi
"The rebels and armed groups are not mad"
See also:

28 Oct 01 | Africa
Peacekeepers arrive in Burundi
09 Jul 01 | Africa
Mandela sees Burundi solution
23 May 01 | Africa
UN talk up Burundi peace
11 Jul 01 | Africa
SA troops earmarked for Burundi
25 Aug 00 | Africa
Burundi's deadly deadlock
10 Jan 01 | Country profiles
Country profile: Burundi
30 Oct 01 | Africa
More SA troops deploy in Burundi
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