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U.S. Department of State
Office of the Spokesman
Press Statement

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Statement by Richard Boucher, Spokesman
January 12, 2001

Burundi: Meeting Between President Buyoya and Rebel Leader in Gabon

The United States welcomes the January 9 meeting in Libreville, Gabon between Burundi President Pierre Buyoya and Front for the Defense of Democracy (FDD) rebel leader Jean Bosco Ndayikengurukiye. The Front for the Defense of Democracy (FDD) is one of the two major rebel groups engaged in the civil conflict in Burundi. We hope that this meeting, hosted by President Bongo of Gabon and facilitated by President Kabila of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, will encourage further dialogue between the Burundian Government and the Front for the Defense of Democracy (FDD) to help bring an end to the violence in Burundi.

We believe that the Libreville meeting should add important impetus to the efforts being made by Facilitator Nelson Mandela and South Africa Deputy President Zuma to launch cease-fire negotiations. We continue to hope that the parties will find a way to secure a quick suspension of hostilities, pending the negotiation of the terms of a permanent cease-fire. Clearly, continued progress in the Burundi peace process will contribute to ongoing efforts to bring peace to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and to stabilize the Great Lakes region.

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