I propose to take Questions Nos. 6 and 24 together.
There has been a series of contacts between the Government and the Burundian Government following the tragic and horrific murder of Archbishop Michael Courtney in Burundi on 29 December last. Earlier this week, I met with the Burundian Foreign Minister, Mr. Sinunguruza, who travelled to Ireland in order to present the results of his Government's official investigation into the murder of Archbishop Courtney. This meeting followed an earlier meeting in Brussels on 13 January 2004 between my colleague, the Minister of State, Deputy Kitt, and the President of Burundi, where the murder of Archbishop Courtney was discussed and the Burundian President offered to share information on its investigation with the Government.
I appreciate the urgent and speedy manner in which the Burundian Government has carried out its investigation into the nuncio's murder and its willingness to make available to us the results of its investigation. I also understand that the Holy See, of whom the late archbishop was such a dedicated servant, has also received the same information from the Burundian authorities. Deputies will be aware that following the investigation carried out in Burundi, an individual is in custody on suspicion of possible involvement in the ambush which resulted in Archbishop Courtney's murder, and that legal proceedings are now pending.
From my contacts with the Burundian authorities, there can be no doubt about the deep esteem in which the late nuncio was held by the Burundian people and the very real sense of loss which continues to exist following his murder. These sentiments are also shared here in Ireland and I was very pleased during my meeting with the Foreign Minister to announce that the Government intends instituting a series of peace fellowships to enable Burundian students to come to study in Ireland, in tribute to the memory of Archbishop Courtney.
If any small consolation can be derived from the tragic events of 29 December, it is that the nuncio's murder does appear to have provided a renewed impetus to the efforts to achieve a final, comprehensive peace agreement within Burundi for which he personally had worked tirelessly. In my discussions with Foreign Minister Sinunguruza, I made clear that the European Union very much welcomes the recent progress in the Burundian peace process, including the opening of negotiations between President Ndayizeye and the FNL, the last group opposing the peace process by force. I also reassured him that the EU would continue its constructive engagement in support of the peace efforts in Burundi, including through the efforts of its special representative, Mr. Ajello.
As Ireland holds the EU Presidency, we stand ready to extend any practical assistance we can to ensure the current efforts are successful. In this regard, the Government has recently decided to make a contribution of €500,000 available in support of the African Union-led AMIB peacekeeping force in Burundi, as a practical demonstration of our commitment to assist the peace process in Burundi.