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South Africa and Belgium reaffirm support for Burundi peace process

South Africa and Belgium have reaffirmed their committment to the peace process in Burundi "to guarantee the well-being of a population that has suffered from civil strife for too long," a joint communique said on Thursday. The communique was issued in Brussels following a meeting between the facilitator of the peace process, South African Vice-President Jacob Zuma, and the Belgian Deputy Prime Minister Louis Michel, to discuss the implementation of ceasefire agreements and the deployment of an African Union (AU) peacekeeping force in Burundi. According to the communiqué, Zuma briefed Michel on the ceasefire agreements between the armed groups and the transitional government in Burundi and the expected 1 May handing over of power by President Pierre Buyoya to his deputy, Domitien Ndayizeye, in line with the requirements of the three-year transitional period. The two leaders also discussed Belgium's support for the peace process. The communiqué said Michel visited Burundi in January and had drummed up international support for the peace process, especially "within the European Union and international financial institutions". Michel said the Belgian Council of Ministers allocated on 4 April some €1 million (US $1.7 million) towards the deployment of the African Mission in Burundi (AMIB). The AMIB commander, Maj-Gen Sipho Binda, told IRIN in Bujumbura on Wednesday that the force would be deployed in Burundi before 1 May.

This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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