Burundi rebels say they will halt clashes with gov't
Monday, 26 May 2008

Reuters, Bujumbura- Burundi's last resisting rebel group has said it will stop sporadic fighting with the government to give a stalled peace deal a chance.

Burundi's government and the Forces for National Liberation (FNL) rebels signed a pact almost two years ago to end a persistent insurgency. But the FNL pulled out from a truce monitoring team over objections to parts of the agreement.

"We proclaim to the Burundi people and the international community an immediate stop of hostilities," the group said in a statement late on Friday.

"We decided to stop war because we are at a negotiating table. We call upon the government to show its good will and do the same," it added. Government officials declined to comment.

Nearly 100 people have been killed in clashes over the last month in the hills surrounding the capital.

Exiled FNL leaders returned home last week from Tanzania -- which has spearheaded peace efforts in the nation of 8 million people -- to begin implementing the delayed deal.

The pact between rebels and President Pierre Nkurunziza's government 19 months ago is seen as one of the last hurdles for a nation emerging from more than a decade of civil war that saw some 300,000 people killed in ethnic clashes.

On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council called on both sides to fully implement the deal, seen as a home grown African success story since it was fronted by regional leaders.

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