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Last Updated: Tuesday, 23 December, 2003, 14:08 GMT
UN keeps observers in Burundi
Burundi women
Thousands have fled their homes because of the fighting
The United Nations Security Council has signalled it could support the sending of peacekeeping troops to Burundi.

It called on Secretary General Kofi Annan to assess what the UN should do to help secure peace in the country.

After a decade of civil war the government and the main Hutu rebels signed a peace agreement last month.

However, one armed Hutu group remains opposed to peace, and the UN has been struggling to secure enough troops and equipment for its existing missions.


The main Hutu rebel group, the Forces for the Defence of Democracy (FDD), agreed to join the government of President Domitien Ndayiezeye after siging an agreement in Arusha, Tanzania.

But the Forces for National Liberation (FNL) rebels - a smaller Hutu group - rejects the deal and pledges to continue fighting.

The UNSC welcomed the formation of a transitional government and progress made towards ending the war.

The council statement echoed South Africa's deputy president Jacob Zuma's sentiments that the peace process in Burundi is irreversable.


Mr Zuma played a key role in trying to end the war in Burundi that has killed more than 200,000 people.

The UN council urged Forces for National Liberation (FNL) rebels to join into the peace process without further delay.

The members also renewed the year-long mandate for the UN peace building mission in Burundi which has about 55 staff.

Early this month, Mr Zuma told the council the African-led peace process was short of resources and that its role should be taken over by the UN.

More than 2,500 African troops are in Burundi to observe the ceasefire, helping to reintegrate former combantants into civilian life and lay the groundwork for social and economic reconstruction.

Last week, the head of the UN peacekeeping operation Jean Marie Guehenno warned that the organisation is facing difficulties in finding enough soldiers and equipment.

Military officials from rich first world countries often criticise the UN for being disorganised and are reluctant to put their soldiers under its command.

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Timeline: Burundi
08 Dec 03  |  Country profiles

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