(formerly IRIN News) Journalism from the heart of crises

Peace summit due Sunday

South African Deputy President Jacob Zuma, facilitator of the Burundi peace process, has set Sunday for a regional summit on the war-torn country, his office announced.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the office of the South African presidency said the meeting, due to take place in the Tanzanian city of Dar es Salaam, would try to restore the peace process and security to Burundi.

Zuma was speaking on Monday after a meeting with Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, who is chairman of the Great Lakes regional peace initiative on Burundi.

The two leaders called upon the signatories of the ceasefire agreements to "respect the transitional arrangements and work towards urgent implementation of the agreements". They urged the Forces nationales de liberation (FNL) of Agathon Rwasa "refrain from violence and join the peace process without further delay".

Museveni will chair the meeting, which will also involve Zuma, President Benjamin Mkapa of Tanzania and the belligerents in the Burundi conflict.

In December 2002, Pierre Nkurunziza's Conseil national pour la defense de la democratie-Forces pour la defense de la democratie (CNDD-FDD) signed a ceasefire with the government, but the agreement has been violated by both sides. Rwasa's FNL has still not entered into talks with the government.

Meanwhile, Reuters news agency quoted Museveni as saying that a military solution was needed to stop renewed fighting in Burundi.

"The immediate option to us is a military solution to defend the Burundi peace agreement," he is reported to have said on Tuesday.

The announcement follows a week of intense shelling of Bujumbura, the Burundian capital, during which the UN said at least 170 people were killed. The fighting involved FNL soldiers, many of whom were reported to have been aged 11-15, and the Burundian army.

Suggestions of CNDD-FDD collaboration were refuted by the group's representatives in Dar es Salaam on Monday.

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