Merci Madam Chair,
I would like to join the other colleagues in congratulating Burundi and the members of the Peacebuilding Commission for the fruitful work carried out in the framework of the Burundi Configuration.
Burundi has been one the first Countries to be included on the agenda of the PBC. In the period between 2006 and today, the Country Configuration has been key in accompanying Burundi in the post-conflict phase, providing a valuable platform for dialogue and promoting resource mobilization in support of the development priorities of Burundi.
While Burundi still faces many challenges, the International Community should also recognize the peace and security gains made thus far.
These hard-won gains need to be preserved, thorough a continued work aimed at advancing national reconciliation, promoting the rule of law, preserving democratic space and respecting fundamental freedoms.
The PBC allows Member States to engage with one another on all these issues. The decision by the Government of Burundi to start a transition from the current configuration to more flexible forms of engagement can then contribute to the evolution of the procedures and methods of work of the PBC.
Italy will rejoin the PBC as a full member at the beginning of next year and Burundi can count on Italy’s support in implementing a smooth transition with the aim of pursuing a renewed dialogue within the PBC.
Burundi can also count on Italy’s full support in the framework of the political dialogue with the European Union that has intensified over the last two years with recent positive developments.
The Conclusion of the Country configuration should not imply a reduction of the international cooperation with Burundi. Quite the opposite, the consolidation of peace and stability in Burundi should bolster greater commitment in achieving sustainable development in its three dimensions – economic, social and environmental – in a balanced and integrated manner.
Italy will remain engaged in Burundi via bilateral aid and thanks to the presence of civil society organizations, that have been active in promoting social cohesion and creating economic opportunities.
Burundi has shown its capacity to assume a leadership role in the region, most recently as Chair of the East African Community, and assisted countries affected by conflict by providing contingent troops to peace operations. Burundi has also demonstrated its willingness to engage constructively with all its neighbors. These are extremely positive developments that need to be further encouraged.
I thank you.