Monday, December 01, 2008

Kony's fate to be decided by a summit of regional leaders convened by Riek Machar

December 01, 2008 report from New Vision in Uganda by Henry Mukasa:

UGANDA will consult regional leaders on the fate of LRA leader Joseph Kony, who refused to sign the final peace agreement over the weekend.

Defence state minister Ruth Nankabirwa said a summit of presidents of the countries in the region, convened by the chief mediator, Dr. Riek Machar, would advise on the talks.

Kony has in the past used durations of talks to re-arm, train, treat the wounded and mobilise in preparation for fighting.

Yesterday, after a briefing of what transpired during the meeting between Kony and leaders from the north at Garamba in Congo, the Government team returned to Kampala.

Only ministers Ruhakana Rugunda, the chief government negotiator and his colleague, Nankabirwa, remained in Juba where they held a closed-door meeting with Machar, who is also the South Sudan vice-president and Joaquim Chissano, the UN envoy to LRA-affected areas, at the Bridge Hotel.

In the evening, Rugunda, Nankabirwa and Chissano returned to Kampala aboard a UN helicopter.

Nankabirwa said Chissano informed the meeting of what he will report to the UN Security Council on December 16, but referred The New Vision to Rugunda for details.

Rugunda was reportedly in a meeting at press time.

However, sources in the meeting said the LRA team cited the arrest warrants by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for Kony and his top commanders as a challenge to the talks.

“The LRA wants the provision in the final peace agreement on the ICC to be revisited and restructured,” the source said.

The team also said threats against Kony from people in Uganda and the Diaspora delayed the signing of the deal.

Machar confirmed that Kony said he would not sign the final agreement if the ICC warrants remain. He doubted that the elders would persuade Kony to sign the deal.

“But knowing his behaviour, he is probably elsewhere. I do not see new ideas that have come out of his discussions with the elders,” he said.

Chissano too expressed doubt about the peace deal.

“We do not expect there will be a signing soon.”

In the two-decade brutal war, the LRA have been accused of mass murders, amputation of survivors, abductions, looting, burning villages, sex slavery and forced recruitment of children into its ranks.


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