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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release September l8, l996


The United States welcomes the recent announcement issued by the Burundian authorities lifting the ban on political parties and restoring the National Assembly. We view this as a significant step in the right direction. At the same time, we look forward to clarification of some aspects of the announcement and to the effective and impartial implementation of these decisions.

The United States again urges all concerned parties in Burundi to launch, immediately and unconditionally, a negotiating process aimed at ending the killing and establishing a framework for all-party negotiations. This is the way to address the root causes of the conflict and to bring about a better future for all Burundians.

As we continue to call on the Burundian authorities to take further steps to achieve national reconciliation, we stress that the National Council for the Defense of Democracy (CNDD) and all opposition parties must take up the offer of talks and not obstruct them. It is time to stop the killing and start talking. The United States condemns in particular all attacks against civilians and population centers. UN Security Council Resolution l072 emphasized the international community's readiness to consider additional measures aimed at any party, inside or outside Burundi, that is not demonstrating a commitment to a peaceful resolution to the conflict.

Since the July 25 coup, the United States has consistently called on the Burundian authorities to guarantee safe passage out of the country for President Ntibantunganya and others who continue to be accorded refuge in the U.S. and other Embassies. Their freedom to depart the country would be another important indication of the seriousness of the Burundian authorities in seeking an end to the current crisis.

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