Burundi : It’s up to the Security Council to act and respond to the urgency [fr]

Burundi - Remarks to the press by Mr Alexis Lamek, Deputy Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations, chargé d’Affaires a.i. - 9 November 2015

(in French and in English)

Bonjour à tous,

Nous sortons d’une séance publique du Conseil de sécurité où nous avons entendu des messages convergents de la part de tous les représentants des Nations unies et de l’Union africaine. La même inquiétude, la même frustration à l’égard de la crise qui frappe aujourd’hui le Burundi.

La détérioration de la situation au Burundi a atteint un stade critique. Nous devons regarder la situation en face. Si nous laissons l’escalade des tensions sans rien faire, c’est tout le pays qui risque de s’embraser, en particulier quand nous entendons les plus hautes autorités de l’Etat appeler à la haine.

Nous avons désormais la responsabilité morale de nous mobiliser. L’urgence c’est le lancement d’un vrai dialogue inclusif national entre le gouvernement et toutes les parties pacifiques burundaises. Ce dialogue n’aura lieu qu’avec le soutien de toute la communauté internationale, la région en premier lieu et en particulier la Communauté de l’Afrique de l’Est, mais aussi les Nations unies.

C’est le cœur du projet de résolution que nous venons de diffuser aux 15 membres du Conseil de sécurité : ce projet appelle instamment toutes les parties à rejeter la violence et à lancer un dialogue. Il accueille la nomination par le Secrétaire général d’un Envoyé spécial pour coordonner les efforts des Nations unies. Nous rappelons notre intention d’adopter des sanctions si nécessaire. Ce projet de résolution affirme enfin l’importance de prévoir des plans de contingence au cas où la situation se détériorerait davantage.
Nous avons présenté ce projet de résolution aux membres du Conseil de sécurité. Notre intention est qu’il soit adopté le plus rapidement possible.

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We just had a public briefing of the Security Council and I was struck by the convergence of the statements made all the Representative of the United Nations and the Ambassador of the African Union. The same concerns, the same frustration also regarding the crisis in Burundi.

The escalating violence in Burundi has reached a very worrying stage, maybe a tipping point. We must face the reality: If we let the tensions escalate without doing anything, the whole country could explode, especially when we hear hate speech coming from top officials of the Burundian State.

It’s up to this council to act and respond to the urgency. The priority is to launch a true national inclusive dialogue between the Government and all Burundian peaceful parties. Such a dialogue can only take place with the support of the international community: the region in the first place, in particular the East African Community but also the UN.
That’s the message which is at the core of the draft resolution we just introduced to the 15 members of the Security Council:
— In this draft resolution, we call on all parties to reject violence and convene an Inter-Burundian dialogue;
— We welcome the appointment of a Special Adviser by the Secretary-General to coordinate UN efforts in response to the situation;
— We express our intention to consider additional measures, including targeted sanctions, against all Burundian actors whose actions and statements contribute to the persistence of violence and impede the search for a peaceful solution;
— We reaffirm the importance of United Nations and African Union contingency planning.
As you probably noticed most of the elements in this resolution actually come from statements already made by the African Union and are very close, and I think convergent, with what the African Union has said. Our intention is to proceed quickly. We already have distributed this text. Negotiations will take place now. And we hope that in the next few days we will have this text adopted.

Q&A

Q: How do you characterize the consensus around the threat of sanctions in the Security Council given the fact that the Deputy Permanent Representative of Russia walked in earlier and said that they were not open to sanctions?

AL : This issue is currently discussed among member states. The important point to keep in mind is that this notion of threat of targeted sanctions is something that has been raised by the African Union itself and it actually comes from the statements issued by the Peace and Security Council in Addis Ababa.

Q: Isn’t it time to take a step beyond the threats to consider sanctions? I mean this is what has been going on, now if you are going to do a resolution, what is the point of simply reiterating things that are already out there? Does that really bring anything new? How realistic is it that you can get something like this through the Council given Russia very clearly standing position?

AL: I think it shows the high level of concern among Council members. As I said, it is echoing what the African Union is telling us. And I can tell you that the statement made by the African Union Ambassador earlier shows that the AU is also extremely concerned by the situation, and very much adamant about the necessity to address this crisis.

Q: Is there a request in the resolution for the Secretary-General to strengthen the UN presence in Burundi? Beyond the Special Envoy, are you looking at deployment of any kind: police force, peacekeeping… What do you have in mind?

AL : The issue has been discussed a lot now in the chamber, contingency planning, what should be done, etc. There are obviously ongoing discussions within the Secretariat. And we believe it is appropriate : we have to be collectively prepared in case we are confronted to a serious deterioration.

Q: La détérioration se détériore sur le terrain, vous l’avez mentionné tantôt. Ce que rejette le ministre burundais qui s’est adressé au Conseil de sécurité. N’est-ce pas un bras de fer déjà qui s’installe entre le gouvernement burundais et la communauté internationale. Et comment pensez-vous contourner la question pour amener la paix.

AL: Je pense que ce qui était vraiment frappant lors de la partie publique du briefing c’est la convergence de l’ensemble des intervenants des Nations unies, qu’il s’agisse du Secrétariat, des responsables des droits de l’Homme, de la Commission de la consolidation de la paix, qu’il s’agisse également de l’Union africaine. Le diagnostic que tous établissaient était sans hésitation : nous sommes confrontés à une situation d’une grande gravité.

Dernière modification : 09/11/2015

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