Norway wants to thank Ambassador Lauber for organizing yet another excellent briefing on the situation in Burundi. We alsso thank the representative of Burundi, and ASG Keita for their substantial introductions.
Norway has a good and constructive relationship with Burundi. When the country configurations were established, after 2005, Norway was the first Chair of the Burundi configuration.
Norway has been engaged in Burundi for several years through civil society and support through multilateral organizations. Norwegian support to NGOs working in Burundi amounted to approximately 4 million US dollars in 2019. This comes in addition to support through multilateral channels and global funds. Norway has also supported the work of the Peacebuilding Fund in Burundi. The PBF plays an important role.
We would like to highlight that the difficult situation in Burundi must be addressed in a comprehensive manner, where humanitarian, economic, political and human rights aspects are dealt with holistically.
The upcoming elections in May present an opportunity for Burundi to embark upon a path of stabilization, democratization and socio-economic progress. This opportunity should not be missed. We commend the President’s announcement that he will not run as Presidential candidate in the 2020 elections. We welcome the news that candidates are nominated.
We urge the Government of Burundi and other stakeholders to engage in a constructive dialogue that is conducive to free, fair and peaceful elections, and implore the Government to ensure a level playing field where all parties can participate freely in the elections.
We would like to highlight the importance of ensuring that all political parties can engage in legitimate political and civil activities in complete freedom and security, in an environment of political tolerance, including by prosecuting anyone engaged in incitement to hatred and calls for violence against other political parties and their members.
This will pay off also in terms of economic and social development. Peaceful, transparent, free and fair elections and full respect for human rights is the best recipe for reinvigorating the economy, enhancing investor confidence, and resuming development cooperation, including mobilizing support for the National Development Plan 2018-2027.
We call on the Government of Burundi and regional partners to strengthen efforts to resolve the political and humanitarian situation in Burundi to prevent a further escalation of violence, which could have consequences for the stability of Burundi and the region.
NGOs play an important role in the delivery of assistance in Burundi.
Also, a strong partnership between Burundi and the UN is essential.