Summary: September 6, 2004: Declaration by the Presidency on behalf of the European Union on the establishment of an independent electoral commission in Burundi (Brussels)
The European Union welcomes the establishment by the Burundese Government, after the approval given by National Assembly and Senate, of an independent Electoral Commission which will play the leading role in the organization of local, regional, parliamentary and presidential elections. The EU considers the establishment of the Commission as a major step in the implementation of the Arusha peace process. Its creation makes it possible to proceed with the adoption of a new constitution and electoral laws. The EU also welcomes the law that creates the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. This Commission can be seen as a major instrument for reconciliation and durable peace as contained in the Arusha Peace Agreement. The EU urges all parties to adopt this law on the basis of the largest possible consensus.
The EU exhorts the Burundian Government, National Assembly, Senate and all political parties to take without delay all steps necessary for the organization of the elections, in line with the agenda set by the Regional Initiative at its meeting on August 6, and to engage in the power sharing agreement reached under the auspices of Vice President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, as facilitator of the Regional Initiative. The EU furthermore urges all parties to reach a consensus on the principles of power sharing, so as to allow the National Assembly to adopt the new Constitution within the deadline set by the Regional Initiative.
The EU would like to congratulate South African president Thabo Mbeki on his efforts during the negotiations in Pretoria.
The EU reiterates its willingness to assist Burundi in the organization of free and fair elections and to reach a lasting solution to the conflicts that have destabilized the country over the past decades. In this regard, it underlines the need to proceed swiftly with demobilization of armed groups in the country, and with the reform of the security sector to ensure long-term peace and stability.
The Candidate Countries Romania, Turkey and Croatia*, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro, and the EFTA countries Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, members of the European Economic Area, align themselves with this declaration.
* Croatia continues to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.