Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Burundi: FNL coming on board?

On Monday, the FNL reversed its long standing refusal to meet with President Domitien Ndayizeye. The meeting will go forward at some point this month, held at an undisclosed location.

The FNL has long refused to hold talks with Ndayizeye, claiming that true power in Burundi lies with Tutsi politicians and Tutsi military leaders. The FNL recently walked out of talks with the government, citing this very reason. The other Hutu rebel group, the FDD, signed a peace deal and is now part of the government.

FNL spokesman, Pasteur Habimana, says this meeting has nothing to do with international pressure or the murder of Papal Nuncio Michael Courtney, which was blamed on the FNL.
Habimana added: "We agreed to talk to President Ndayizeye as a father of the nation. He said he wanted to know why the FNL is refusing negotiations with the government. This meeting will be an opportunity to explain to him why we did not join the peace process; we could not refuse his offer." (link)
FNL = Forces nationales de liberation
FDD = Forces for the Defence of Democracy