Burundi rebels ready to discuss peace

The last active rebel group in Burundi has said it is ready to hold peace talks with the government in an attempt to end nearly 13 years of civil war.

    A previous ceasefire has been violated by both parties

    Agathon Rwasa, the head of National Liberation Forces, FNL, told reporters late on Saturday that his group was ready to discuss lasting peace with the government, but did not give details on when the talks, which were suspended last year, would resume.
      
    "We are ready to negotiate with the current government in Burundi on what to do to stop hostilities in our country," he said.

    "Negotiations can help bring peace not confrontation."     

    But he then went on to accuse the government of launching continued attacks on the FNL and murdering several of its members.
      
    "Some of our colleagues have been murdered in cold blood, tortured and at least 5000 of our supporters detained," Rwasa said.

    Ceasefire violations
      
    Last year, the government and the rebels agreed on a ceasefire but it has been violated by both parties.
      

    "We are ready to negotiate with the current government in Burundi on what to do to stop hostilities in our country"

    Agathon Rwasa, head of National Liberation Forces

    In January, Pierre Nkurunziza, the president of the central African state, said the FNL had officially approached him about reviving the stalled talks but he had voiced reservations, saying the rebels had repeatedly refused to recognise his government.
      
    Asha-Rose Migiro, the foreign minister of Tanzania, who held talks with Rwasa on Saturday, said her country would continue to facilitate the peace talks.
      
    "For many years we have been supporting the peace process and we are going to continue doing so," Migiro said.
      
    The FNL is the only one of Burundi's seven Hutu rebel armies still fighting.
      
    It has refused to recognise Nkurunziza's government, which was installed in August 2005 after a series of elections designed to end an ethnically driven civil war that has claimed about 300,000 lives.

    SOURCE: AFP


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