Uganda bombs push LRA to talk

December 22, 2008 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 22 – Uganda’s rebels Lord Resistance Army (LRA) on Monday called for a fresh round of peace talks and made new demands to re-open negotiations after the collapse of the un-signed concluded talks.

LRA Chief Negotiator David Masanga told Capital Newsbeat in an exclusive interview that the rebel Chief Joseph Kony needed clarification on the International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecution indictment charges before appending his signature on any agreement.

“One contentious issue between the Ugandan government and the LRA is the ICC, we are not re-opening the whole agreement; we are just looking at the indictment …this is what that is giving Joseph Kony cold feet to sign,” he explained.

It was not clear which form the 20 year conflict would take after a joint offensive was launched by Ugandan, Southern Sudanese and Congolese forces against the rebels in mid-December, after peace talks failed.

The Ugandan government said it had destroyed more than 70 percent of camps run by Lord’s Resistance Army rebels in a remote region of northern DR Congo as a result.

The LRA are blamed for abducting children and forcing millions to flee.
Last week, the UN envoy trying to end Uganda’s long-running conflict, Joachim Chissano, said he backed the offensive against the rebels.

Mr Chissano said the aim of the operation was to force the LRA leader to sign a peace deal, which he has so far failed to do.

Mr Masanga confirmed the air strikes had destroyed some bases for the rebel grouping but insisted that the LRA leader was not personally harmed by the military operation.

“The air strikes have not destroyed any bit of LRA; we must now look for a peaceful way out of this conflict rather than a military solution,” Mr Masanga said.

Among the LRA new conditions are a fresh venue (Tanzania), new re-negotiations, a new mediator and UN direct intervention dismissing the current UN envoy Chissano as an observer to the peace talks.


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