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UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Friday 26 March 2004

BURUNDI: AU urges UN to deploy troops

NAIROBI, 26 Mar 2004 (IRIN) - The African Union (AU) has renewed for another month the mandate of its peacekeeping mission in Burundi, and appealed to the UN Security Council to authorise the early deployment of UN troops to the country as proposed by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, the AU reported on Thursday.

The AU said it had renewed the mandate of its mission, known as AMIB, from 2 April to 2 May, on the understanding that the UN Security Council would deploy peacekeepers before the end of this period.

In a statement issued after a meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, by its Peace and Security Council on the situation in Burundi, the AU said considerable progress had been made in Burundi's search for peace that a conducive environment had been created for the deployment of UN troops.

The AU announced that it had decided to send a mission of its Peace and Security Council to Burundi, "to asses the situation on the ground". The AU appealed to all the stakeholders in Burundi to continue their cooperation with AMIB so as to facilitate the implementation of its mandate.

On Monday, the UN Security Council urged the AU to keep its troops in Burundi while it considered a UN deployment. The Security Council made the announcement after it deliberated on a proposal by Annan urging it to approve the deployment of 5,600 peacekeepers.

AMIB has 2,523 troops in Burundi drawn from Ethiopia, Mozambique and South Africa. It was deployed to monitor the country's peace process following a decade of civil strife, which has claimed the lives of at least 250,000 people.


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