Statement on massacre in Burundi, 19 September 2002

I would like to extend my heartfelt condolences to the Burundian people on the loss of their loved ones and compatriots during the massacre in which more than 170 people were killed in the province of Gitega on 9 September 2002.

We are particularly concerned that the massacre has taken place during a period of negotiating a ceasefire agreement, which is aimed at adding further impetus to the achievement of peace and stability in Burundi, in line with the Arusha Peace, and Reconciliation Agreement signed on 28 August 2000.

We strongly condemn the killing of civilians and the general loss of lives and believe that negotiations are the only route to peace and stability in Burundi.

We have been informed by the delegation of the National Council for the Defence of Democracy/Forces for the Defence of Democracy (CNDD-FDD) of Peter Nkurunziza that the movement has declared two days of mourning in light of the massacre. Based on that, the movement's delegation to the talks has requested a two-day delay so that they can participate in the mourning period.

We would like to appeal to all affected parties in Burundi to exercise calm and restraint, and focus on working towards a lasting solution to the problems facing the country, so that we can prevent further killings.

We will once again invest all efforts to assist the negotiating parties to find common ground, for the sake of the people of Burundi.

A ceasefire agreement is a critical guarantee for lasting peace and stability in Burundi, and we must emphasize to all parties that time is running out, given that the last summit on Burundi is scheduled to take place on the 7th of October in Arusha, Tanzania.

HE JACOB G ZUMA
CHAIRPERSON: BURUNDI CEASEFIRE NEGOTIATIONS
DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA
DAR ES SALAAM, TANZANIA


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