Statement by H.E. Ambassador Koro Bessho Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations at the Briefing on the Situation in Burundi

Thank you, Mr. President.

I also thank Special Envoy Michel Kafando and Ambassador Jürg Lauber for their informative briefings.  I would like to focus on two main points regarding Burundi today.

The first concerns the need to re-establish trust between the Government of Burundi and the international community.  We welcome Special Envoy Kafando’s engagement with Burundi and regional governments, and call on the Government of Burundi to work constructively and cooperatively with the Special Envoy.  We fully support the Special Envoy’s efforts.  We also thank the Chair of the PBC Burundi Configuration for his proactive role.  This exemplifies how usefully the PBC can support the work of the Council.  

A year has passed since last July’s adoption of resolution 2303, which remains unimplemented.  The situation in Burundi remains fragile, and we are concerned by the worsening socio-economic situation as well as serious, ongoing human rights violations.  One month ago, the Permanent Representative of Burundi told the Council that a continued OHCHR office in Burundi is a certainty, yet there has been no progress on resumed cooperation between the Government of Burundi and OHCHR.  Despite repeated calls by the international community, only a limited number of AU human rights observers have arrived in Burundi.  And while the Council has urged the Government of Burundi to cooperate fully with the deployment and activities of the UN police component, it has not yet been established.  We call on the Government of Burundi to promptly address these concerns.  

I believe that the maintenance of cooperative relations with the UN, the AU, and other international partners is clearly in Burundi’s own national interest.  A neutral international presence in Burundi has a very positive effect in building confidence between Burundi and the international community.  The Council must act to ensure this presence.

My second point concerns regional efforts on Burundi.  We thank President Museveni and President Mkapa for their mediation efforts.  Progress on an inclusive national dialogue in advance of the 2020 elections is vital for the peace and security not only of Burundi, but of the wider region as well.  We call on the Government of Burundi to seriously commit to an inclusive national dialogue, without conditions.  We also call on heads of state in the East African Community to further enhance their engagement on the situation in Burundi.  And as  response to Ambassador Lauber, I am confident that the Council will continue to support the EAC-mediated dialogue process going forward.

I thank you, Mr. President.