PARIS, May 28 (Xinhua) -- France on Wednesday welcomed the signing of a declaration calling for the immediate cessation of hostilities between the government of Burundi and the National Liberation Forces (FNL), the only remaining active Hutu rebel group, the French media has reported.
"We welcome the joint declaration on the cessation of hostilities signed by the government of Burundi and the Palipehutu-FNL on May 26," the Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Pascale Andreani said, adding that the move constitutes "an important step in the final consolidation of peace in Burundi."
The signing of this declaration marks an "important step" in the consolidation of peace and security in the country that has been rocked by inter-ethnic fighting for a long time, the French Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
"Paris is calling on all actors to implement the commitments that have been made and to continue dialogues and consultations in order to conclude the process of negotiations within the shortest time possible," said the spokeswoman.
Finally, France would like to "reiterate its supports for the efforts of facilitation led by South Africa, the regional initiative and the political bureau" and "remains committed to supporting all efforts to consolidate peace in Burundi," said the spokeswoman.
The Burundi government and the Palipehutu-FNL signed a comprehensive ceasefire agreement in September 2006, but its application fell through after the two sides disagreed on several issues, mainly including the sharing of political and military power.
In this climate of a total blockage in discussions, the rebels on April 17 launched an offensive against the capital, raising fears among the population about the possibility of a return to large-scale clashes.
Since 2006, Burundi, through a regional mediation effort led by the South African Foreign Ministry, has been trying to end a civil war which has killed 300,000 people since 1993.