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BURUNDI: Government, rebel group sign ceasefire implementation deal

NAIROBI, 8 October 2003 (IRIN) - Burundi President Domitien Ndayizeye and Pierre Nkurunziza, the leader of the country's largest rebel faction, signed an agreement on Wednesday to implement a ceasefire deal reached in December 2002.

The implementation agreement, signed in Pretoria, South Africa, under the facilitation of South African President Thabo Mbeki and Deputy President Jacob Zuma, is on the integration of the armed forces, the police and intelligence services.

Under the accord, known as the Pretoria Protocol on Political, Defence and Security Power Sharing in Burundi, Nkurunziza's Conseil national pour la defense de la democratie-Forces pour la defense de la democratie (CNDD-FDD) will get 40 percent of the integrated general staff and the officer corps of the army. The size of the component of non-commissioned officers and other ranks is to be decided by the integrated general staff.

The general staff will propose to the government the structure and size of the army and its officer component in a military is to be known as the Burundi National Defence Force (BNDF). The agreement says military command posts will be shared on an overall 50-50 ethnic basis "as stipulated in the Arusha Peace and Reconciliation Agreement".

The accord says demobilisation and subsequent reintegration of combatants will be progressive, and the final phase of the effort will take place once the elected government is in place, and be "guided by the required size of the BNDF”.

The parties also agreed to establish a new national police force, 65 percent of the members of its general staff structure to be drawn from the transitional government and 35 percent from the CNDD-FDD. A 50-50 overall ethnic balance will be instituted in the force.

Elements of the gendarmerie "may be deployed" to both the new defence and police forces, the agreement says. "Equally, elements of the CNDD-FDD will also be deployed into the Burundi Police Force," it says.

All militias will be disarmed and placed under the supervision of the African Mission in Burundi, at the beginning of cantonment and barracking.

The intelligence services will come under a Ministry of Intelligence that reports to the president. All parties to this agreement are to submit names to the president for positions on the general staff of intelligence. The agreed composition of the intelligence services allocates 65 percent of the personnel to the transitional government and 35 percent to the CNDD-FDD on the basis of a 50-50 overall ethnic representation.

At the political level, the CNDD-FDD will get four ministerial posts, including that of a minister of state. "The presidency will consult the minister of state on all key matters," the agreement says.

In the legislature, the posts of second vice-president and deputy secretary-general of the National Assembly will also be allocated to CNDD-FDD members. Fifteen members the assembly will be from the CNDD-FDD. The participation of the CNDD-FDD in the Senate will be discussed at the next meeting ahead of a regional summit.

Three provincial governors and five advisers to governors will be members of the CNDD-FDD, which will also fill the posts of two ambassadors and six secretaries and/or advisers. In local government, it will have the posts of 30 administrators and those of 20 percent of the heads of parastatals. "The exact distribution will be negotiated later," the agreement says.

The talks, which began on Sunday, were the latest in a long series of meetings aimed at ending 10 years of civil war.

Outstanding matters for discussion are those of temporary immunity from prosecution, the CNDD-FDD as a political party, the Forces Technical Agreement, and the question of the participation of the CNDD-FDD in the Senate.

"These matters will be finalised at the next meeting, which will be convened as a matter of urgency," the agreement says.

Themes: (IRIN) Conflict, (IRIN) Governance



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