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The inter-burundian negotiations

258 pages
President Buyoya's book is not only a lively and well-documented personal account; it also constitutes an in depth analysis of Burundi's tragic history and draws lessons that could be applied in other countries facing similar crisis. President Buyoya initiated, negotiated and concluded the peace agreements with the rebellion in August 2000 in Arusha.
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Pierre Buyoya       THE INTER-BURUNDIAN NEGOTIATIONSA long walk towards peace
Foreword by Louis Michel
© LHarmattan, 2011 5-7, rue de lEcole-Polytechnique, 75005 Paris http://www.librairieharmattan.com diffusion.harmattan@wanadoo.fr harmattan1@wanadoo.fr ISBN : 978-2-296-55603-4 EAN : 9782296556034
I dedicate this work on the Burundian peace process to my family, To my wife, Sophie To my children, Olivier, Floriane, Clémentine and Linda e peace process in Burundi has been both sensitive and dangerous. Personally, I was threatened physically and this difficult situation emotionally affected my family. May they find here the expression of my deepest gratitude for their flawless support throughout this process, which did not spare them anxiety and emotions.
It is always interesting to read the stories of the actors who shaped history and gave it a moral meaning. Of all the leading politicians I had the privilege to meet and with whom I was assigned to discuss and negotiate, Pierre Buyoya is one of the figures that impressed me most favorably. He is exceptionally acute intellectually, pragmatic and welcoming, and always induces an impression of calm determination. He was discreet and reserved, yet could hardly hide the painful anxiety he felt for the future of his country, for his people… for his entire people, without any distinctions. is elegant person, who held the material and military means to extend his presidential legacy, instead scrupulously respected the commitments he took in Arusha in front of Nelson Mandela and Bill Clinton. I was there. I witnessed those moments when history vacillates between nightmare and genius. anks to the loyalty of Pierre Buyoya and to his propensity to respect his promises, he always gave peace a chance. Pierre Buyoya has been a decisive actor in the Burundian reconciliation process. His role cannot be ignored when addressing Burundi’s recent political transition and its long peace process. And yet, this book is not simply a testimony or memoire of the recent history of Burundi. Rather, it presents an essential questioning, so as to move forward on the path of peace and democracy in Burundi. e author claims that this book is not historical, and I agree with him. It is pedagogical, if I may say so. It consists of a personal take on this fundamental moment of the Burundian history, and it is open to criticism and dialogue.
While Pierre Buyoya returns to Burundi’s history, the actual transition in Burundi seems to face new evolutions. It is thus all the more important to have access to this book, for past processes are necessary to analyze the present and the future. Burundi can and must continue to be a model of democratic transition. I dare to believe that Burundi already is a textbook case and I sincerely hope that events to come will prove me right. As the author says it himself, the long-term sustainability of peace nonetheless remains in the hands of Burundians. In this respect, I would like to highlight a topic that matters a great deal to me: the importance given by the author to dialogue and a sincere political commitment to pursue discussion. is is an essential heritage that must be passed on to new generations. Dialogue - the openness to a respectful exchange - may well be the strongest message that came out of the Arusha negotiations. Indeed, political dialogue, within democratic institutions and within the living forces of the Burundian nation, is the keystone for a sustainable peace. It is important to preserve “Arusha’s spirit”. Even if everything is not perfect, this spirit, which is perfectly embodied by the Constitution of the country, is the tangible result of the “lesson of democracy” symbolized by the Arusha negotiations. Given my personal implication in the Burundian process as Belgium’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and later as a European Commissioner, I would also like to add something on the implication of the International Community in this process. e role of the international community has been essential to thrust the Burundian case into the forefront of the international agenda. International support was not solely financial; it was also political and diplomatic. e international community continues this work both inside the country, within the Political Directory of the peace process, and at the international level, for instance through the United Nations Peace-building Commission. However, these institutions
can only play a supporting role, and can never take the place of the will of the Burundian people. As the author mentions in the title, the country has been through a great deal, and the long walk is not over yet. is book will nevertheless provide Burundian lectors with the necessary material to appropriate their own history, as well as to reflect upon a sustainable solution for the future, in order to overcome the path yet to be covered. I am therefore convinced that this book will impassion a wide audience interested in understanding the history of such a touching and captivating country in the heart of Africa, through the eyes of one of its protagonists. I was in Arusha. I saw a Head of State fully acknowledging his responsibility. I saw a noble man, driven by the demanding opinion of his role, writing one of the most difficult pages in the history of his country and people. Perspective, insight, abnegation, humility, and sense of duty: all of these virtues were summoned by Pierre Buyoya so as to give a chance to the hopes of a beautiful and great people, to whom I feel closer than ever.
Louis Michel European Commissioner to Development and Humanitarian Aid