Dáil Éireann - Volume 461 - 13 February, 1996

Written Answers. - Troika Mission in Burundi.

53. Mr. Haughey asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs the concerns, if any, he has regarding the deteriorating situation in Burundi; if he will support calls for an international armed force to be sent to this country in order to prevent slaughter; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3012/96]

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Spring): I have given a full statement of the Government's position on the current situation in Burundi in my reply to Questions Nos. 32 and 34, on Tuesday, 6 February.

In response to recent developments, [939] the UN Secretary General has proposed the deployment of a military intervention force which would be stationed in Zaire, ready to act immediately in the event of a sudden deterioration of the situation in Burundi. This is one option among many which the UN Security Council may have to consider if the situation continues to deteriorate. However, our view remains that an agreed, internal, long-term solution is preferable to an interim one forcibly imposed.

As I outlined in my reply last week, there are continuing, intensive diplomatic efforts at national, regional and international levels to establish a political framework to promote peace and stability in Burundi and the Great Lakes Region. We are giving every support possible, both bilaterally and with EU partners, to the numerous, ongoing efforts at preventive diplomacy. The EU decided at the General Affairs Council of 29 January to appoint a special envoy to the Great Lakes Region in support of these efforts. They are being facilitated also by the UN Secretary General's Special Representative to Burundi, former Presidents Carter and Nyerere, the OAU and others.

Officials from my Department are due to return from the capital of Burundi today where they have participated in a high-level EU Troika Mission to that country. While there they have had meetings with senior Hutu and Tutsi leaders in government and other key figures. The Troika Mission had the objective of promoting substantive political dialogue between the parties in Burundi and will help evaluate measures which can be taken to avoid further violence and human suffering.