This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 THE HAGUE 000148
E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/22/2014 TAGS: PREL PGOV MOPS BY NL SUBJECT: BURUNDIAN PRESIDENT MEETS FNL REBEL GROUP
Classified By: Ambassador to Burundi James Yellin for Reason 1.5D
1. (U) Burundian President Ndayizeye met in the Netherlands with a delegation of the PALIPEHUTU-FNL, the only Burundian rebel group that has not signed a cease-fire. The final communique calls for: (a) an International Commission of Investigation into the death of the Apostolic Nuncio; (b) the need to stop the violence on the ground; (c) an end to the murderous confrontations between the PALIPEHUTU-FNL and the CNDD-FDD (another rebel group); and (d) another meeting without delay in order to discuss questions linked to the peace process.
2. (C) Comments and Notes: This was the first meeting between President Ndayizeye and the PALIPEHUTU-FNL, although the PALIPEHUTU-FNL claimed it had agreed to meet with Ndayizeye as an individual, and not as President. The communique suggests the Burundian government and the PALIPEHUTU-FNL are prepared to try to reach a truce in the near term. The Head of the Central and Eastern African Division in the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs told us that the next meeting between the two sides should take place within the next few weeks. He also said that the PALIPEHUTU-FNL would hold a congress in the second half of February to discuss the Burundi peace process. End Summary.
3. (U) The following is our informal translation of the official French text of the communique issued at the end of the recent meeting in the Netherlands between the Burundian president and the PALIPEHUTU-FNL, the only Burundian rebel group that has not signed a cease-fire.
4. (U) Begin Text of Communique:
A. Final Communique of the Meeting between His Excellency Domitien Ndayizeye, President of the Republic of Burundi, and the PALIPEHUTU-FNL.
B. From January 18 to 21, 2004, in Oisterwijk in the Netherlands, discussions took place between His Excellency Domitien Ndayizeye, President of the Republic of Burundi, and a delegation of the PALIPEHUTU-FNL led by Mister Ibrahim Ntakirutimana.
C. The meeting in Oisterwijk is an eloquent demonstration by the two parties of their will to find means and methods leading to a suspension of hostilities and to pursue the search for a durable and inclusive peace.
D. The good will shown by the parties will allow putting an end to a conflict that has constituted a long ordeal for the civilian population, and will thus increase the chances of a permanent peace, of national reconciliation, of reconstruction, and of the development of the country.
E. At the end of this meeting, the two parties agreed on the following points:
-- The establishment of an International Commission of Investigation into the death of the Apostolic Nuncio, without however placing any obstacles to the national investigation.
-- The need to stop the violence on the ground in order to build a climate of confidence favorable to dialogue.
-- The wish by both parties to see an end to the murderous confrontations between the PALIPEHUTU-FNL and the CNDD-FDD.
-- To meet again without delay in order to discuss and exchange views on questions linked to the peace process in Burundi.
F. The Netherlands declares itself ready to help the parties regarding the continuation of the discussions and for follow-up on the points of agreement between the two parties.
G. The two parties were pleased by the welcome extended to them by the Government of the Netherlands and thank the facilitation team for making this meeting possible, particularly Madame Agnes van Ardenne - van der Hoeven, Minister of Development Cooperation of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, for her involvement in an undertaking which should lead to the conclusion of an overall agreement between the Government of Burundi and the PALIPEHUTU-FNL on a cease-fire and on the entry into institutions.
H. Done on January 21, 2004, at Oisterwijk by: His Excellency Domitien Ndayizeye, President of the Republic of Burundi
Mister Ibrahim Ntakirutimana, Chief of Delegation of the PALIPEHUTU-FNL
5. (U) End Text.
6. (S/NF) NOTES
A. The PALIPEHUTU-FNL delegation chief, Ibrahim Ntakirutimana, is the military chief of staff of the rebel group, according to a source close to the PALIPEHUTU-FNL.
B. Norbert Braakhuis, Head of the Central and Eastern African Division in the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told Poloff Kami Witmer and Yellin on January 22 that the next meeting between the two sides should take place within the next few weeks. Braakhuis also said that the PALIPEHUTU-FNL would hold a congress in the second half of February to discuss the Burundi peace process, and that if President Ndayizeye agreed and that if there were adequate financial controls, the Dutch government would probably help fund the congress.
C. The communique was not completed until the afternoon of January 21, several hours after President Ndayizeye had left the Netherlands. The hang-up was over how to refer to Ndayizeye in the communique. Ndayizeye wanted to be referred to as President of the Republic of Burundi, but the PALIPEHUTU-FNL demurred, offering to refer to him instead as Father of the Nation.
D. On January 21 a member of the Burundian government delegation, Pancrase Cimbaye, phoned visiting Ambassador to Burundi Yellin in The Hague and asked him to try to persuade PALIPEHUTU-FNL spokesman Pasteur Habimana, who is close to PALIPEHUTU-FNL leader Agathon Rwasa, to have the communique refer to Ndayizeye as President. Yellin, Braakhuis and South African Burundi expert Jan Van Eck (who was in the Netherlands) cell-phoned Habimana in Burundi. The PALIPEHUTU-FNL delegation eventually agreed to refer to Ndayizeye as President. Habimana professed to Yellin that Father of the Nation sounded more weighty than President.
7. (C) COMMENTS
A. This was the first meeting between the PALIPEHUTU-FNL and Burundian President Ndayizeye, although the PALIPEHUTU-FNL claimed that it had agreed to meet with Ndayizeye as an individual and not as President.
B. The communique suggests that the Burundian government and the PALIPEHUTU-FNL are prepared to try to reach a truce in the near term.
C. At the beginning of the meeting, the PALIPEHUTU-FNL had said that after talking with Ndayizeye it would meet with the Tutsis but not with a Burundian government delegation, according to Cimbaye. Absent from the communique is any reference to a meeting with the Tutsis, but Braakhuis told us that the PALIPEHUTU-FNL has not dropped this demand. (PALIPEHUTU-FNL spokesman Habimana told Yellin on January 21 that the PALIPEHUTU-FNL would meet with a government delegation after meeting with the Tutsis.)
D. The Dutch did an excellent job in organizing and facilitating the talks between President Ndayizeye and the PALIPEHUTU-FNL. In addition to the Dutch Minister of Development Cooperation, who is cited in the communique, thanks should also go to Central and Eastern African Division Head Braakhuis.