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M7 sets terms for ceasefire

By Vision Reporter

Added 8th August 2006 03:00 AM

THE Government has set terms for cessation of hostilities against the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) led by Joseph Kony.

THE Government has set terms for cessation of hostilities against the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) led by Joseph Kony.

LRA rejects talks before truce

By Emmy Allio and
Henry Mukasa
in Juba

THE Government has set terms for cessation of hostilities against the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) led by Joseph Kony.

The terms, expected to be communicated to the LRA peace team in Juba today, include the creation of a ceasefire monitoring team that comprises the LRA, UPDF and SPLA, sources said yesterday.

But the LRA peace team in Juba yesterday said it would not return to the table unless the government declared a truce. The negotiations had been due to resume yesterday.

President Museveni has also written to Southern Sudan President Salva Kiir stating his position on the Kony talks. Museveni’s letter was delivered by the leader of Uganda’s peace team to Juba, Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda, during a meeting with Kiir at his office on Monday evening.

Under the terms, LRA fighters must agree to assemble at designated points where the World Food Programme will feed them.

Uganda has also proposed that the Government of the Southern Sudan (GoSS) chairs the monitoring team, which will have two UPDF and two LRA officers. There will also be representatives from the international community.

The LRA will have to demonstrate that all their commanders in the field have received the ceasefire message by agreeing to assemble at designated places.

The sources said the Government would not declare a ceasefire until a comprehensive agreement has been signed.

It shall be a breach of the ceasefire if LRA engaged in recruitment, abduction, acquisition of military hardware, abuse of civilians and hostile propaganda.

The director of the Media Centre, Robert Kabushenga, said there were mechanisms for declaring a ceasefire.

“A ceasefire has rules and a framework. We can’t be party to a ceasefire announced on radios. Discussions must be held and an agreement reached at,” Kabushenga said.

On Friday, Kony, through his deputy Vincent Otti, announced what he described as a “unilateral ceasefire”.

But Uganda snubbed the announcement, saying its aim was to pre-empt item No.4 on the talks agenda.

LRA team spokesman Obonyo Olweny was quoted by the media in Juba as saying, “We are not going to resume face-to-face talks with the government unless it declares a unilateral ceasefire like we did.”

He said the rebel team would not drop its demand unless instructed to by the LRA high command. The rebel demand threw the resumption of the talks that began on July 14 into jeopardy.

Speaking about Museveni’s letter to Kiir, Rugunda said, “The letter was about the same subject, peace talks and progress made so far.” He declined to give details, saying it would be “uncourteous.”

This is the second letter Museveni is writing to Kiir after one dated July 3, which Rugunda delivered prior to the start of the peace talks.

Rugunda said his team briefed Kiir on the consultations they had with Museveni on the five-point agenda, which includes solutions to the issues that caused the war, accountability and reconciliation, participation of the north in politics, economy and national institutions and the ceasefire.

GoSS vice-president and chief mediator Riek Machar briefed Rugunda on his trip to Nabanga and his meetings with Kony.

Rugunda said although Uganda preferred to have Kony or Otti in Juba to speed up the talks, the Government would not abandon the talks if they did not attend.

The chairman of the LRA delegation, Martin Ojulu, said Machar told them at a meeting yesterday that Uganda had agreed to discuss the ceasefire issue first, which, he said, the LRA found acceptable.

M7 sets terms for ceasefire

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