Thank you, Madame President. First, please allow me to extend my government’s deepest condolences to the government and the people of Burundi for the tragic loss of life and property as a result of the flooding and landslides in Bujumbura this week. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families during this difficult time.
Madame President, Burundi has made considerable progress since its years of civil conflict came to an end. The United States has been and remains one of Burundi’s strongest partners, particularly as Burundi has become an exporter of peace and security through its deployment in international peacekeeping and stabilization missions.
While acknowledging this significant progress in peace, stability, and development, the current political stalemate and heightened tensions point to a continuing need for the United Nations Office in Burundi to maintain a presence to continue to help consolidate peace, democracy, and national reconciliation. Last year’s media law, the recent dismissal of the First Vice President, and constitutional amendments proposed threaten the delicate power-sharing arrangements that have enabled Burundi’s progress since the Arusha Accords were signed in 2000.
The United States strongly supports BNUB’s mandate and the work of the SRSG as crucial to Burundi’s continued progress in fully establishing democratic governance and ensuring stability. The government’s continued partnership with the UN mission and the SRSG, as well as the international community more broadly, will be increasingly important in the lead up to the 2015 elections, when inclusive political dialogue and compromise will be required of all political leaders and parties.
We welcome the Burundian government’s call for a UN presence through the entirety of the electoral process. We see this mission as playing an important good offices role as a confidence building and diplomatic incentive and look forward to its independent assessment of the overall political and technical conduct of elections. We urge the government not to attempt to go at it alone through this crucial and sensitive electoral period, but to welcome the partnership and support of the international community through this UN presence. We look forward to the UN Secretary General’s regular reporting to the Council in this regard, including on the agreed-upon benchmarks.
The United States looks forward to continuing to work with the government and people of Burundi as a partner in the country’s peace, stability, and development.
I thank you.
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