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DATE=2/5/99 TYPE=BACKGROUND REPORT NUMBER=5-42525 TITLE=BURUNDI UNITY BYLINE=SCOTT STEARNS DATELINE=BUJUMBURA CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: FRIDAY WAS UNITY DAY IN BURUNDI -- A COUNTRY WHERE MORE THAN 200-HUNDRED THOUSAND PEOPLE HAVE BEEN KILLED IN ETHNIC VIOLENCE DURING THE PAST SIX YEARS. V-O-A'S SCOTT STEARNS IN BUJUMBURA REPORTS BURUNDI'S LEADERS SAY THEY ARE MAKING PROGRESS TOWARD ENDING DECADES OF MISTRUST. TEXT: /// ACT - MILITARY BAND - FADE UNDER /// BURUNDI'S UNITY DAY CELEBRATES THE START EIGHT YEARS AGO OF A TRANSITION TO DEMOCRACY THAT LED TO THE COUNTRY'S FIRST FREELY-ELECTED PRESIDENT, MELCHIOR NDADAYE. PRESIDENT NDADAYE CAME FROM THE COUNTRY'S ETHNIC HUTU MAJORITY. HIS ELECTION BROUGHT WITH IT THE HOPE THAT DECADES OF CONTROL BY MINORITY TUTSI IN THE ARMY MIGHT FINALLY YIELD TO PEACEFUL COOPERATION ACROSS BURUNDI'S ETHNIC DIVIDE. BUT PRESIDENT NDADAYE LASTED ONLY A FEW MONTHS BEFORE PARATROOPERS STORMED THE PALACE, KILLING THE PRESIDENT AND MUCH OF HIS CABINET. PRESIDENT NADADAYE'S MURDER TOUCHED OFF A WAVE OF ETHNIC VIOLENCE THAT CONTINUES TODAY WITH CROSS-BORDER RAIDS IN THE SOUTH. THERE HAS BEEN SOME PROGRESS IN BURUNDI. PRESIDENT NDADAYE'S PARTY NOW HAS SEATS IN THE MILITARY GOVERNMENT THAT CAME TO POWER IN A 1996 COUP. PEACE TALKS IN THE TANZANIAN TOWN OF ARUSHA INCLUDE NEARLY 20 PARTIES WORKING TOWARD A NEW TRANSITIONAL GOVERNMENT FOR BURUNDI. THE PROBLEM WITH ARUSHA IS THAT IT DOES NOT INCLUDE THE BIGGEST REBEL GROUP, WHICH IS STILL ACTIVELY FIGHTING THE GOVERNMENT OF RETIRED MAJOR PIERRE BUYOYA. WITHOUT THEM, THERE IS NO CHANCE FOR A CEASEFIRE. U-S AMBASSADOR RUSTY HUGHES SAYS THAT DESPITE THE OBSTACLES, BURUNDI IS MOVING SLOWLY TOWARD ETHNIC RECONCILIATION. /// HUGHES ACT /// THE PEOPLE WHO HAVE CONTRIBUTED TO THIS EVOLUTION CONTINUE TO PARTICIPATE IN IT. BY THAT, I MEAN THE DEPOSED PRESIDENT IS PARTICIPATING. AND THE PEOPLE WHO RAN FOR THEIR LIVES AFTER THE COUP IN JULY OF '96 ARE NOW PARTICIPATING IN THE PROCESS. AND THAT SUGGESTS THAT RECONCILIATION IS POSSIBLE. BUT THERE IS A LOT OF WORK LEFT TO DO BECAUSE THERE ARE KEY PLAYERS WHO ARE NOT PARTICIPATING IN THE TALKS. AND THAT IS AN ISSUE THAT WE ARE HELPING WITH AS BEST WE CAN. /// END ACT /// REGIONAL DIPLOMATS SAY THEY ARE TRYING TO INCLUDE REBELS IN THE ARUSA TALKS BEFORE THE NEXT ROUND OF NEGOTIATIONS LATER THIS YEAR. EAST AFRICAN LEADERS LAST MONTH ENDED ECONOMIC SANCTIONS AGAINST BURUNDI IN RECOGNITION OF THE PROGRESS PRESIDENT BUYOYA HAS MADE IN ENDING BANS ON POLITICAL PARTIES, RESTORING THE CONSTITUTION, AND REINSTATING THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY. IN HIS UNITY DAY SPEECH TO THE NATION, PRESIDENT BUYOYA THANKED HIS NEIGHBORS FOR ENDING THE EMBARGO, SAYING THE DECISION WILL HELP BURUNDI'S SEARCH FOR PEACE. /// BUYOYA ACT - FADE UNDER /// PRESIDENT BUYOYA SAYS THOSE WHO FLED BURUNDI SHOULD COME HOME AND HELP REBUILD THE COUNTRY. HE PARDONED REBELS WHO HAVE TAKEN UP ARMS AGAINST THE GOVERNMENT, INVITING THEM TO JOIN THE NATIONAL ARMY. NOW THAT THE EMBARGO HAS BEEN ENDED, PRESIDENT BUYOYA SAYS ALL BURUNDIANS ARE AGAIN EQUAL MEMBERS OF THE EAST AFRICAN COMMUNITY WHO SHOULD WORK TOGETHER TO IMPROVE THE COUNTRY BY BUILDING NATIONAL UNITY. PRESIDENT BUYOYA IS LIMITED BY ARMY OFFICERS AND TUTSI BUSINESS LEADERS WHO ARE CAUTIOUS ABOUT MAKING TOO MANY CONCESSIONS TO THE HUTU MAJORITY. HE SAYS HE HAS LEARNED FROM MISTAKES OF THE PAST AND BELIEVES BURUNDI IS BETTER PREPARED FOR DEMOCRACY THAN IT WAS IN 1993. HUTU LEADERS FEAR THE MISTAKE THAT PRESIDENT BUYOYA HAS LEARNED FROM IS THAT HE LOST THAT VOTE TO A HUTU MAJORITY. WHATEVER HIS INTEREST IN BUILDING A MORE ETHNICALLY-BALANCED SOCIETY, THEY WONDER HOW FAR HE WILL GO IN OFFENDING SOME OF HIS BIGGEST SUPPORTERS. HUTUS IN THE BUYOYA CABINET SELDOM PARTICIPATE IN REAL DECISIONS OF STATE. /// ACT - DRUMMING - FADE UNDER /// AMID THE CELEBRATION OF THIS UNITY DAY, BURUNDI REMAINS A DIVIDED NATION WITH MORE THAN ONE-HALF MILLION PEOPLE DRIVEN FROM THEIR HOMES AND MOST OF THE NATIONAL BUDGET SPENT FIGHTING REBELS WHO BELIEVE THERE IS NO OTHER WAY TO PROTECT THEIR RIGHTS. (SIGNED) NEB/SKS/JWH 05-Feb-99 11:09 AM EST (1609 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .





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