September 8, 2008:
The UN has issued a
new assessment of Burundi's peace process. The "positive developments" include
a "cessation of hostilities" - at least for the most part. However, the UN
analysis notes that there remain numerous problems that will take compromise.
The most important goal is integrating the Palipehutu-FNL faction into the September 2006 Comprehensive Ceasefire
Agreement. That is proceeding. However, to say the least, Burundi is
impoverished. Trouble in neighboring Congo constantly presents Burundi with the
threat of "spill-over violence" and even renewed violence. Burundi's domestic
political scene is chaotic - there are 34 political parties. That noted, the
parties are for the most part engaged in politics, not combat. The face to face
meeting between Burundi's president. Pierre Nkrununziza, and a senior
Palipehutu-FNL leader (on August 18) is regarded as a major step toward
reconciliation. Control of the security forces (especially the Burundian Army)
remains a problem. The UN code phrase is "rule of law within security forces."
That's an important phrase, and one that is tough to implement.
September 3, 2008: Rwanda has promised
the Congo government that it will help accelerate the "disarmament and
demobilization" of the Congolese rebel militia the Democratic Forces for the
Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR). The militia includes Rwandan Hutus who belonged to
August 27, 2008: A senior
Palipehutu-FNL leader claimed that Burundian security forces had a plan to
assassinate FNL leaders. Agathon Rwasa made the claim on a BBC News program.
The FNL provided no proof.
August 24, 2008: The Burundi military
claimed that a Palipehutu-FNL (Forces for National Liberation) rebel group
ambushed several soldiers near the town of Murwi. One soldier was killed in the
August 20, 2008: The Rwandan government
continues to accuse France of "playing an active role" in the 1994 genocide of
Rwandan Tutsis. Rwanda argues that French military trainers helped arm Hutu
extremists. France denies the charges.