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Preparations begin for UN peacekeeping mission in Burundi

5 April 2004 Secretary-General Kofi Annan has begun preparations for an expanded United Nations role in Burundi, saying that much needs to be done to establish a UN peacekeeping mission to support the Transitional Government ahead of the Central African country's elections later this year.

With Burundians scheduled to go to the polls by 31 October, "it is my intention to immediately begin planning and preparations for a United Nations peacekeeping mission," Mr. Annan writes in a letter addressed to the President of the Security Council released today.

Last month, the Secretary-General recommended in a report that the Council should expand the UN's role in Burundi in order to provide the support necessary for consolidating the peace process, which began with the signing in 2000 of the Arusha Agreement on Peace and Reconciliation.

He proposed that the African Union's Africa Mission in Burundi (AMIB) and the existing UN Office in Burundi (UNOB) form the core of the military and civilian components, respectively, of a UN peacekeeping mission in the country.

Responding in writing to Mr. Annan's letter, Council President Gunter Pleuger of Germany approved the proposal, noting that it will be carried out without prejudice to a future decision on establishing a UN force in Burundi.



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