Home | News    Saturday 8 July 2006

Uganda names team for peace talks with rebels

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July 8, 2006 (KAMPALA) — Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has named an eight-member team for peace talks with the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) scheduled for next week in the southern Sudan city of Juba.

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Yoweri Museveni

The team is led by Minister of Internal Affairs Ruhakana Rugunda, who will be assisted by State Minister for Foreign Affairs in charge of International Relations Henry Okello Oryem.

The list, quoted by the state-owned New Vision on Saturday, included the head of the internal and external security organizations, Amos Mukumbi and Makku-Igga respectively, as well as Chief of Military Intelligence Leonard Kyanda.

The eight-member team also included acting commander of Uganda People’s Defense Force (UPDF) 4th Division in Gulu, Eric Otema, who is also head of intelligence operations in northern Uganda and southern Sudan.

According to the chief mediator and Vice President of southern Sudan, Riek Machar, the talks will start on Wednesday.

Joseph Kony, elusive LRA leader, appointed his 15-member peace delegation on June 12, who has been waiting in Juba for direct talks with the Ugandan government.

Initial hurdles to peace talks were lessened when Uganda dropped its previous preconditions that Kony and four top LRA commanders already indicted by the International Criminal Court ( ICC) should participate in the talks.

Rugunda’s advance team that met with South Sudan President Salva Kiir last week also agreed to talk to Kony’s delegation, which they had previously said was not credible.

To promote the talks, the latest peace attempt since 2004, Museveni on Tuesday pledged to grant total amnesty to Kony if peace talks succeed. But the ICC Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno- Ocampo insisted Kony has to face trial.

"Finally, the judges will have to decide what to do with the case. The court is the only arbiter of its mandate, the judges will decide," chief prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo told a press briefing here.

Meanwhile, the LRA has already rebutted Museveni’s amnesty offer, referring to it as redundant and not applicable in negotiations.

Kony has led the LRA since 1988 in its brutal insurgency in northern Uganda against Museveni’s government, which has left tens of thousands of people killed and over 1.4 million displaced in the conflict.

(ST/Xinhua)

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