Friday, November 26, 2010

New Sudan war would cost Uganda, region

New Sudan war would cost Kenya, region
Source: AFP / www.capitalfm.co.ke
Date: Thursday, 25 November 2010


(Khartoum, Sudan, Nov 25) - A return to civil war in the event that south Sudan votes for independence would cost the country, the region and international community more than 100 billion dollars, a study published on Thursday warned.

Aegis Trust, an NGO, and three research centres including the Institute for Security Studies, based in South Africa, drew up four post-referendum scenarios, ranging from peace to a resumption of full-scale war between north and south Sudan.

In the case of a 10-year conflict of medium intensity, the losses for Sudan would amount to at least 52.1 billion dollars (39 billion euros), on top of about 29 billion dollars for neighbouring Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda, the study estimated.

The impact on the international community would top 30 billion dollars in terms of peacekeeping missions and humanitarian aid.

"This report demonstrates the high cost of conflict. It implies that domestic, regional and international parties should be asking: 'Are we doing enough to avoid a war that might cost over 100 billion dollars and ruin countless lives?'" said Matthew Bell of London-based Frontier Economics.

The study calculated Sudan's losses in case of war on the basis of an annual 2.2-percent decline in Gross Domestic Product.

It would cost Ethiopia and Kenya more than one billion dollars a year in terms of forecast growth, the researchers said, warning that war would also damage Egypt, Sudan's northern neighbour and the region's leading economy.

The impact could be even heavier in the event of full-scale war that would disrupt the oil production of Africa's largest country, which has reserves of more than six billion barrels.

Khartoum and the former southern rebels signed a peace deal in 2005 after more than two decades of war. A central element of that accord is an independence referendum for the south scheduled for January. Since July, the two sides have been negotiating on key post-vote issues.

Chief among those crucial to a peaceful transition in case of partition is the sharing of oil resources.

Oil revenues make up the Sudanese government's main source of foreign currency earnings, while southern Sudan depends on oil for as much as 98 percent of its budget.

Most of Sudan's reserves are concentrated in the south but can only be exported through a pipeline passing through the north on the way to Port Sudan on the Red Sea.

An oil-sharing formula would benefit both the north and south, whereas an interruption in production and exports would damage the whole country.

"Reaching some level of agreement before the referendum is important not only because both economies need uninterrupted revenue, but also to sustain the confidence of oil companies in their existing investments," the International Crisis Group said this week.

In case of peace and healthy ties between north and south Sudan as well improved security in Darfur, Sudan's growth would steady at an annual 6.2 percent for five years and even reach nine percent from 2016, the study said.
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Report On The Cost Of A Possible Return To War In Sudan
Source: SRS (Sudan Radio Service) - www.sudanradio.org
Date: Thursday, 25 November 2010
(Nairobi, Kenya) – A report published by a coalition of European and African economic and political think-tanks on Thursday says a return to war in Sudan would cost Sudan, the region and the international community about 100 billion US dollars.

The report which comes amid fears that the referendum could trigger an escalation of violence attempts to analyze the economic cost of war to the region.

Mathew Bell an Associate Director of the London based, Frontier Economics spoke to SRS in Nairobi during the launch of the report.

[Mathew Bell]: “The report is an attempt to do with economic analysis of what the cost of war to Sudan and the region and the international community could be. It very explicitly sets aside the very real and important human costs of death and suffering that would result in war but to take a financial perspective as a way of adding to the debate around the cost of war. The headline itself looks like it would cost in excess of about a hundred billion dollars to the combination of Sudan the region and the international community should war break out. That figure breaks down into about 50 billion dollar cost to the Sudanese economy itself. About a 25 billion dollar cost to the regional economy including Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda. And about a 25 to 30 billion dollar cost to the international community in the form of peace keeping in the form of humanitarian intervention.”

Mathew Bell recognizes the difficulties in measuring the costs of potential future conflict in the report. He explains the different scenarios.

[Mathew Bell]: “Because of the uncertainties of what may happen because nobody can be sure about what the outcome is going to be, we have looked at different potential scenarios; we have tried to come up with a range of figures. And the 100 billion dollar that we have been quoting is towards the bottom end of that range. And the Low, medium and high conflict scenarios are different levels of conflict from a low level civil war situation, to a very serious situation to a very serious full blown civil war that might involve some of the regional players as well, or ways of how to characterize different points in the spectrum of costs. What we don’t comment on at all is what the likelihood of different scenarios would be. But we want to give a range of potential costs.”

According to the report the evidence suggests that the net impact of conflict would be significantly negative. Sudan would lose about 50 billion USD from its GDP, the neighboring countries would lose 25 billion USD of GDP and the international community would lose 30 billion USD in peacekeeping and humanitarian costs.

The report by the European and African economic and political think-tanks on the cost of war in Sudan was launched in Nairobi on Thursday.

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Southern Sudanese travelling to Ugandan border to register

Southern Sudanese Travelling To Ugandan Border To Register
Source: SRS (Sudan Radio Service) - www.sudanradio.org
Date: Monday, 22 November 2010
(Kampala) – Voter registration in Kampala, Uganda has witnessed low turnout since the exercise started last week.

According to the chairperson of the Central Equatoria Women Association in Kampala Suzy Alfred Wani, most southern Sudanese are traveling to Kaya and Nimule borders to register.

[Suzy Alfred Wani]: “The registration is not going well in Kampala though there are some people registering but it's not going well, because there was a delegation that came from Juba in Central Equatoria with a message that let everybody go and register at the borders in Kaya and Nimule. So anybody who wants to register in Kampala should go and register in these two centers. Right now there are busses that have been hired and some southern Sudanese who owned busses have contributed with their busses to ferry people from Kampala to Kaya and Nimule borders.”

Ms Suzy said that southern Sudanese going to register at the borders are exempted from paying exit visa from Uganda.

[Suzy Alfred Wani]: “The government of Uganda has ordered its Migration officers at the two borders not to charge those going for registration visa fees so no one is paying visa fees. In order for you to differentiate between Acholi, of Uganda or Sudan, Kuku of Sudan or Uganda, it is difficult for us that's why we want to make sure that we the real Sudanese go to the border to avoid any problem that may arise.”

That was the chairperson of the Central Equatoria State Women in Kampala Suzy Alfred Wani speaking to SRS from Kampala Uganda on Monday.

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Thursday, November 25, 2010

US reveals plan to disarm LRA fighters

US President Barack Obama presents strategy to combat Lord's Resistance Army rebels and their leader Joseph Kony in central Africa

US reveals plan to disarm LRA fighters
Source: guardian.co.uk by Xan Rice in Nairobi
Date: Thursday 25 November 2010 13.12 GMT



The Lord's Resistance army leader, Joseph Kony, pictured in 2006. Photograph: Stuart Price/AP
The US government yesterday revealed a plan to disarm Lord's Resistance Army fighters in central Africa and capture or kill their leader, Joseph Kony.

Barack Obama presented a strategy document to Congress designed to "mitigate and eliminate" the threat to civilians posed by one of the world's longest-running and most brutal insurgencies.

While they are unlikely to result in US troops being directly involved in combat operations, the proposed measures should strengthen local military efforts against the LRA and have been welcomed by international human rights groups.

The rebels emerged in northern Uganda 24 years ago with devastating consequences for the local population. In recent years, they have exported their terror to the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan and Central African Republic.

More than 2,300 people in these countries have been killed by LRA fighters over the past two years, with 400,000 civilians forced to flee their homes.

At least 3,000 men, women and children have been abducted – the rebels' primary form of conscription.

Obama's announcement followed the passing of a bill in May that requires the US to support multilateral efforts to subdue the LRA.

The four main objectives of the new plan are to increase protection for civilians, encourage rebel defections, improve humanitarian access and "apprehend or remove from the battlefield Joseph Kony and senior commanders", according to a letter sent to congressmen.

The strategy is a more formal and official version of the one employed by the US for the past two years after it took the lead among western countries in trying to end the rebellion.

In December 2008, the US military provided intelligence and financial support to the Ugandan-led Operation Lightning Thunder, which flushed LRA fighters from their main hideout in Congo, Garamba National Park.

But rebel leaders including Kony – who claims to have messianic powers – escaped the ground and air assault and immediately embarked on a series of massacres in remote villages.

The strategy document said the US had spent more than $23m (£14.5m) on support for the Ugandan military since then, but added that more money was needed.

But ending the insurgency is likely to be extremely difficult, even with more cash and commitment. It was a task that proved beyond the Ugandan military when the LRA operated there for 20 years, and the rebel fighters have proved equally comfortable in countries to the east.

The US-based Enough Project warned in a recent report that the LRA's "propensity for violence remains undiminished" despite having a fighting force of just 400. Ledio Cakaj, a field researcher for the project, said Obama's plan signalled a more hands-on approach by the US military in regional counterinsurgency operations.

"You are not going to see marines on the ground fighting Kony," Cakaj said. "But you are going to see more US troops and contractors on the ground facilitating regional efforts to stop the rebels. It's not a radical move, but it is certainly a positive step."

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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

IGAD Summit: Uganda president attends - S. Sudan's Salva Kiir Mayardit's Statement - Sudanese leaders hailed for agreeing 'soft border' solution

ON Tuesday, 23 November 2010, Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni joined other Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Heads of State and Government in the Ethiopian Capital Addis Ababa for a one day summit that centred on the progress of the implementation of the Sudanese Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that was initialed between the Southern Sudanese People’s Liberation Army.

Full story below, followed by several related reports including a copy of Salva Kiir Mayardit's address to the Summit of IGAD Heads of State and Government on Sudan. Excerpt:
"In a nutshell, Sudan requires a lot of help from IGAD, the AU, UN and the international community. The country has myriads of problems – it is yet to implement fully Popular Consultations in the two areas of Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan. Being an integral part of the CPA, the people of these areas must also conduct the popular consultations as agreed. Similarly, Sudan needs help in order to peacefully resolve the conflict in Darfur. No new strategy can work for Darfur until all parties are brought to the negotiating table to agree for peaceful settlement.

In conclusion, the CPA is the roadmap for success in the Sudan, particularly when the referendum is peacefully implemented. Now, as the greatest moment of our history approaches, it is up to all of us to ensure that the referendum is conducted peacefully and without delay."


President Attends IGAD Summit
Source: Office of the President / Uganda Media Centre www.mediacentre.go.ug
Date: Wednesday, 24 November 2010. Copy in full:
President Yoweri Museveni today joined other Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Heads of State and Government in the Ethiopian Capital Addis Ababa for a one day summit that centred on the progress of the implementation of the Sudanese Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that was initialed between the Southern Sudanese People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) and the Government in Khartoum in January 2005 in Nairobi.

The CPA was meant to end the 2nd Sudanese Civil War, develop democratic governance countrywide and share oil revenues. The Agreement further set a timetable by which Southern Sudan would have a referendum on its independence. The referendum in scheduled to place in 2 months time in January next year.

Today’s summit that took place at Sheraton Hotel in Addis Ababa was also attended by host Premier Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia, Sudanese President Omar Hassan el Bashir, President Ismael Omar Guelleh of Djibouti, President Mwai Kibaki of Kenya while the Transitional Federal government of Somalia President was represented by H.E. Yusuf Hassan Ibrahim.

The Summit, in a communiqué issued at the end of its deliberations, reaffirmed its commitment to not only continue the support for the full implementation of the CPA but also for the post referendum period for the sake of peace, stability and democracy.

The communiqué also said that the Assembly of the IGAD leaders took note of their summit coming at a critical time in the history of the Sudan as that country, in just less than 2 months before the referendum on self-determination for the people of Southern Sudan, and a few days after the start of registration of voters for that referendum, represents a significant milestone in the implementation of the CPA between the government of the Sudan and the SPLM.

The IGAD Heads of State commended the efforts of the AU’s group of eminent African personalities, comprising former South African President Thabo Mbeki as the group’s Chairman, President Abdulsalami Abubaker and former Burundi President Pierre Buyoya, for facilitating the Sudanese parties in the implementation of the CPA paying attention to outstanding issues in the Agreement and post referendum time.

The Summit requested the AU group of eminent personalities to keep IGAD updated on the progress of the negotiations including the ongoing discussion between the two parties to the CPA.

On Somalia, the IGAD leaders called upon the Presidency and Parliament in Mogadishu not only to work together for the greater cohesion for the Somali nation but also to provide political and ideological leadership so as to ensure total harmony among the leadership.

The leaders of the IGAD member countries affirmed their unswerving and continued support to the Transitional Federal Institutions of Somalia in their endeavour to create peace, security and stability in the country and put in place institutions of governance that will deliver basic services to the people of Somalia.

President Museveni, who was accompanied by State Minister for Regional Affairs, Mr. Isaac Musumba, Uganda’s envoys to Khartoum and Ethiopia Betty Akech and Mull Katende respectively, among others, later returned home this evening.
ENDS
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Gen Salva Kiir Mayardit, Chairman of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) - Address to the 16th Extraordinary Summit of IGAD Heads of State and Government on Sudan
Source: Press Release reprinted at Sudan Tribune - www.sudantribune.com
Date: Wednesday, 23 November 2010 (Addis Ababa, Ethiopia)
Your Excellency, Ato Meles Zenawi, Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and Chair of IGAD,

Excellencies, Heads of States and Government of IGAD,

Your Excellency, Mr. Jean Ping, Chair of the African Union Commission,

Your Excellency, Mr. Thabo Mbeki, Chair of the AU High-Level Implementation Panel, and colleagues former Presidents Pierre Buyoya and Abdulsalami Abubakar,

Excellencies, Foreign Ministers,

Representatives of the AEC and the UN,

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

I take this opportunity to thank you IGAD Heads of State and Government for convening this Extraordinary Summit on the Sudan in order to be briefed about the implementation of the Sudan Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), which is your own baby. This gathering comes indeed at a critical moment of the history of our country. We are now left with just less than two month before the referendum in Southern Sudan takes place on January 9th, 2011. This auspicious meeting is to us another display of IGAD unwavering commitment to ensure full implementation of the CPA and to also reaffirm its commitment to regional peace and stability.

From our side, I would like to equally reassure you that the SPLM, the Government and people of Southern Sudan and peace loving Sudanese in general commend your efforts most sincerely. We are very grateful for your continued interest and attention, and we need your support now more than ever before to peacefully complete the implementation of the CPA.

As you are all aware and I am happy to brief you today that the registrations are going on smoothly and peacefully. Preliminary information shows that the turnout is quite encouraging particularly throughout Southern Sudan. There is a lot of enthusiasm and anxiety amongst our people not to miss the golden opportunity to express their rightful desire to either vote for the continued unity of the Sudan or to secede to become a country of their own.

Distinguished Delegates, This exercise of the right to self-determination is critical and it remains a formula for maintaining peace today and in the future. That is why we are doing all we can to ensure that the referendum takes place as scheduled. We are also cognizant that any delays risk a return to instability and violence and my message to you today is that every effort must be exerted to achieve a timely conduct of the referendum.

At this juncture, I would also like to commend the efforts of the Southern Sudan Referendum Commission (SSRC) and the Southern Sudan Referendum Bureau (SSRB), who are working around the clock to ensure that the exercise take place as scheduled.

As far as funding is concerned, it is important to admit that there are still difficulties particularly with the National Government in Khartoum, which has deliberately failed to fulfill its obligation to contribute money to the SSRC. The Government of Southern Sudan has so far released SDG 100 million out of the SDG 150 million it has pledged. The donors are also struggling to meet their target may the SRSG and the AEC can later on shed more light on the contributions of the international community.

Politically, the atmosphere is not good particularly in Northern Sudan. Instead of preaching peace some senior members from the National Government and the National Congress Party (NCP) have been raising tempers in the public by issuing statements that are likely to instigate violence. I appeal to this august gathering to discourage the Sudanese parties from provocative behavior. The records are documented that IGAD and the international community should seriously note because should violence erupt there are people to be held responsible.

In Southern Sudan the platform for campaigns is leveled for both those who would like to propagate for unity and separation. Regional and international observers are allowed to move freely and they can speak the truth for themselves. We are desirous and committed to ensure that the referendum in Southern Sudan occurs smoothly and peacefully in order to produce credible results that represent the will of the people. This is our goal and I wish to reiterate to you that we will make certain that all opinions and campaigns for unity or separation are given equal opportunity to be heard. We are exerting all efforts to ensure that the credibility of this referendum is beyond question.

What is badly required of IGAD and other guarantors of the CPA is to mobilize support for the outcome of the referendum in Southern Sudan and the rest of the international community to ensure a peaceful transition.

We are also deeply concerned by the lack of progress in resolving the outstanding issues of the CPA: 1. Abyei 2. North-South border demarcation 3. Post-referendum arrangements

Meantime, we are genuinely willing to negotiate with our brothers and sisters in the North. We are committed to work in a spirit of partnership to create peaceful and sustainable good relations between Northern and Southern Sudan regardless of the outcome of the referendum. I have said it time and again that it is in our interest to see to it that the North remains a viable state, just as it should be in the interest of the North to see Southern Sudan emerge as a viable state too. There should be no room for fear about the future because I have also reiterated several times that even if Southern Sudan separates from the North it will not shift to the Indian Ocean or to the Atlantic Coast. Instead we will be sharing the longest border between us and I would like to reassure you that the security of Northern Sudanese in the South will remain our priority and we request our Northern partners to do the same for Southern Sudanese in the North. Thus, we are committed to sustainable peace and stability irrespective of the outcome of the referendum. We have achieved a lot in the past few years since the CPA was signed and we still have a lot of work ahead of us to improve the lives of our people.

There has been a lot of talk and propaganda about the viability of Southern Sudan as a state if its people chose independence? Let me assure you that Southern Sudan will contribute immensely to peace and the well being of our region of the horn of Africa and our continent as a whole. We have got potentials that, in a free and peaceful environment, can be exploited not just for the development and sustenance of the new state but also for the benefit of the neighboring countries. In order to achieve that we have been reaching out to Southern Sudanese of all walks of life on the referendum and the future of Southern Sudan irrespective of the expected outcome of the exercise. We have been holding successful meetings of ‘All-Southern Sudanese Political Parties' in Juba and most of you may have already come across the resolutions. We are also engaging leaders of Other Armed Groups (OAGs) to discuss the transition in case of secession outcome.

In a nutshell, Sudan requires a lot of help from IGAD, the AU, UN and the international community. The country has myriads of problems – it is yet to implement fully Popular Consultations in the two areas of Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan. Being an integral part of the CPA, the people of these areas must also conduct the popular consultations as agreed. Similarly, Sudan needs help in order to peacefully resolve the conflict in Darfur. No new strategy can work for Darfur until all parties are brought to the negotiating table to agree for peaceful settlement.

In conclusion, the CPA is the roadmap for success in the Sudan, particularly when the referendum is peacefully implemented. Now, as the greatest moment of our history approaches, it is up to all of us to ensure that the referendum is conducted peacefully and without delay.

Once again, we commend the efforts of IGAD, the AU, the UN and the International Community for the continued support for peace in our country and our people. On our part we will do our utmost best not only to reciprocate your efforts but to work for a favorable environment for economic development and sustainable peace in the region. We are optimistic about the future and with your efforts we will make it together.

May God continue to bless us and grant us the patience required to achieve the desired goals and objectives for posterity!

Thank you.
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Sudan's Ruling Party Welcomes IGAD Summit Recommendations‎
Source: Voice of America (VOA) - www.voanews.com - by Peter Clottey
Date: Wednesday, 24 November 2010


Photo: Dr. Rabie Abdelati Obeid is a prominent member of Sudan's dominant National Congress Party (NCP)

A senior member of Sudan’s ruling party has expressed confidence that both his ruling National Congress Party (NCP) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) will resolve all outstanding issues ahead of the 9th January referendum.

Rabie Abdelati Obeid welcomed the recommendation by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) summit on Sudan saying both the NCP and the SPLM will solve the problems and disagreements between them.

“The two partners have shown their readiness to follow what (has) been recommended (by IGAD), and I think the coming days will show the seriousness of the two partners to implement the Referendum Act and also all outstanding points from the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).”

East African leaders met Tuesday [23 Nov] in Addis Ababa to discuss tension in Sudan, where a referendum on independence for the country's south is now less than seven weeks away.

Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir and southern Sudanese leader Salva Kiir were among those who attended the summit.

Participants urged northern and southern Sudan to avoid reigniting the civil war that ravaged the country for 21 years ending in 2005.

Obeid said the NCP is satisfied with the recommendations from the IGAD heads of state and government.

“The NCP has shown their full satisfaction and they also thank IGAD member states for their efforts to narrow the differences, or to remove the differences, between the two partners. We also thank IGAD for their work and their facilitation, and it is very clear for the NCP that IGAD member states are very keen to establish security and peace in Sudan,” Obeid said.

“This will also be reflected in the coming days between NCP and SPLM to resolve the majority of the points that are still outstanding between the two partners before the conduct of the referendum.”

Meanwhile, state media in Sudan quote Mr. Bashir as telling the summit there will be “no return to war,” and that his government will work for strong relations with the south in the event of separation.

In a statement, summit participants said they are confident Mr. Bashir and Mr. Kiir can lead Sudan into a new era of peace, but also expressed concern over issues that continue to divide the north and south.
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Arab League Delegation to Conduct Talks in Khartoum on Referendum‎
Source: Sudan Vision - www.sudanvisiondaily.com - by Staff writer
Date: Wednesday, 24 November 2010
A delegation from the Arab League is expected to conduct talks in Khartoum to-day and get briefed on preparations for southern Sudan self-determination referendum. The delegation will be headed by Ambassador Sameer Hosni, the director of Arab-African Cooperation Department at the League.

In statement to reporters, Ambassador Hisham Youssef, head of the AL Secretary General's office said the delegation will prepare for the forthcoming visit to Sudan by AL Secretary-General, Amro Mousa. The delegation will also discuss with officials in the Sudan numerous issues, particularly those related to relief and the re-construction works in the Darfur region.

Ambassador Hisham Youssef said AL Secretary-General's office will participate in the East of Sudan Development Conference to be held in Kuwait on this coming December. He further said that the AL Secretary-General will head a high-level delegation to the conference which will provide opportunity for consultation on development of the situations in the Sudan. He added that a meeting to be held at AL permanent members' level this coming Saturday will discuss developments in the Sudan, current preparations for the referendum and the role that could be carried out by AL and Arab countries in following up this matter for achieving the interests of the Sudanese people.

"The Arab League will also follow up the southern Sudan self-determination referendum through a delegation that will include a group of officials from the secretariat-general and who might be joined by some Arab Parliament members," he said.

On the probability of the postponement of the referendum, Ambassador Hisham Youssef said this matter is connected to arrangements and preparations. "There are some who believe the forthcoming period is sufficient for conducting the referendum while some others think that there are some organizational difficulties," he said. He added that if the referendum is postponed that would be for a very short period of time, and for organizational and not other reasons.

As regards the situation in Darfur and talks by the Qatari sponsor of that peace talks could be achieved before the end of the year, Ambassador Hisham Youssef said he hoped that peace could be achieved within such a period. "There is a tremendous effort being exerted by the Qatari side and by many Arab countries for achieving peace in Darfur before the end of the year," he said.

On a related development, the joint mechanism for the follow up of Arab undertaking for supporting and addressing humanitarian situations in Darfur will hold a meeting at the Arab Authority for Agricultural Investment and Development premises to-day Wednesday and tomorrow Thursday.

The meeting will discuss the comprehensive peace strategy, the development of Darfur in addition to the performance of AL projects in Darfur, the projects proposed by the Reconstruction Commission for 2011 as well as replicating the experiment of constructing humanitarian services complexes centers to which IDPs return.

The meeting will also discuss the means of earning living projects for IDPs who have returned to their homes, and for those who will soon settle in their homes and the nomads.
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IGAD Summit: Sudanese leaders hailed for agreeing on 'soft-border solution
Source: (PANA) / Afrique en Ligue - www.afriquejet.com
Date: Wednesday, 24 November 2010
(Addis Ababa, Ethiopia) - East African leaders have hailed Sudanese President Omer Al-Bashir and his Southern Sudan counterpart Salva Kiir for agreeing on a 'soft-border' solution as well as to limit tension around possible north-South separation. In a communique issued Tuesday after a meeting to fashion out a solution to the pending issues, the East African leaders also requested the Sudanese leaders to demarcate the north-south border within the time allocated in their peace deal.

'The Summit was particularly encouraged by the parties' commitment in achieving in the event of the secession of Southern Sudan, two viable states living as peaceful and cooperative neighbors,' said the commu nique, issued after the meeting of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) here.

The two states will maintain common security as well as a 'soft border' that forges cooperation without disruption to the livelihoods of the people, the IGAD leaders announced.

South Sudan is headed for a decisive referendum which could see the region declare independence from the larger Sudan on 9 January 2011, in according with a peace agreement reached in Nairobi, Kenya, in January 2005.

The six East African leaders, meeting under the IGAD, emphasised that political tensions arising from the planned referendum be managed in the context of the of Sudan as a melting pot of cultures.

The use of the term, Sudan, the melting pot of cultures, is a reference to the north-south divide in Sudan. It is often offered as an explanation to the diversity of the Sudanese citizenry, which combines a largely Arab North and a b lack population in the South.

The Summit welcomed the dedication of Presidents Al-Bashir and Kiir to resolve the outstanding issues, in particular the issue of Abyei, and called upon the parties to approach the next round of negotiations with a sp irit of compromise.

African Union's High-Level Panel leader Thabo Mbeki has been meeting the two Sudanese leaders to address the issue of Abyei, claimed by both north and South.

Abyei lies in Southern Sudan but has been administered from the North since the British rule in the Sudan. The Southerners want the region to revert to their region, but this has to be done through a referendum.

The current deadlock over the Abyei issue centres on complaints from Southern Su danese tribes that a northern Sudan tribe, the Missiriyah, should not be allowed to vote in the Abyei referendum because they are not local residents.

The IGAD leaders said the two Sudanese parties must take cognizant of the need to guarantee the rights and livelihoods of the affected people.

The leaders welcomed the commitment of the Sudanese Parties to the timely and credible conduct of free and fair referendum and the respect for its outcome.

They noted in particular the commitment by the parties to never return to war but instead to seek peaceful resolution of issues that may divide them.
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IGAD Presidency Meeting On Abyei Scheduled For November 27th
Source: SRS - Sudan Radio Service - www.sudanradio.org
Date: Wednesday, 24 November 2010
(Juba) – The Intergovernmental Agency for Development or IGAD member states have rescheduled the meeting on Abyei referendum to November 27th.

A delegation led by the GOSS President returned to Juba on Wednesday from the 16th IGAD summit where they discussed the progress on the implementation of the CPA.

Pagan Amum, the GOSS Minister for Peace and CPA implementation addressed the press in Juba on Wednesday.

[Pagan Amum]: “The summit was a success and we are happy with the results of the summit. The presidency is going to meet on the 27th, next Saturday to discuss Abyei and to find a lasting solution to the impulse that we have been facing. As you all know the National Congress Party has taken Abyei literally as a hostage and they are using it as a bargaining chip to extort concessions from the south as well as from other actors from the international community, particularly the government of the United States of America. We are hopeful that with the forward leaning position taken by the government of the United States of America and the readiness of the SPLM to discuss what the National Congress really wants to let free the process of Abyei.”

Pagan Amum said the meeting of the Presidency on Abyei will be mediated by the AU High Implementation Panel. He also said the popular consultations for Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan states will be discussed in the next meeting.

[Pagan Amum]: “There is also going to be a meeting on the 28th and 29th of this month focused on the completing discussions on the framework agreement. Hopefully if Abyei and border issues are resolved, then we will have a situation of agreement on the total issues that we have on the CPA and we will be able to close the chapter of conflict in Sudan, especially between the north and the south. The meeting is also going to look at the preparations for the conduct of the popular consultations in the two areas of Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile state. As you all know, the process in Southern Kordofan is delayed because of the delay in the conduct of elections.”

Pagan Amum, the GOSS Minister for Peace and CPA implementation addressed the press on Wednesday in Juba after his arrival from the IGAD Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

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Ugandan president commends former LRA commanders and collaborators

ACCORDING to the below copied report, Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni has commended the former Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) commanders and their collaborators, who have since united in their association, “Acholi Solidarity Mobilization Team”, for uniting and forming an organization that works to counter and expose the lies that opposition politicians have for years used to confuse and intimidate the population in Northern Uganda in order to make them support opposition politicians and political parties.

The President said that government will, in the future, consider giving specific support to former LRA rebels to help them resettle and lead meaningful lives in their communities.

President Commends Former Rebel
Source: Office of the President / Uganda Media Centre www.mediacentre.go.ug
Date: Wednesday, 24 November 2010. Copy in full:
President Yoweri Museveni has commended the former Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) commanders and their collaborators, who have since united in their association, “Acholi Solidarity Mobilization Team”, for uniting and forming an organization that works to counter and expose the lies that opposition politicians have for years used to confuse and intimidate the population in Northern Uganda in order to make them support opposition politicians and political parties.

In a meeting with former rebel commanders and their collaborators at Gulu State Lodge last Sunday, led by former rebel commanders, Brigadier Sam Kolo and Brigadier Banya, the President said that whereas the Sudanese government used Kony to terrorise Northern Uganda, causing untold suffering to the people in Northern Region, he (President) was disappointed that some politicians in Northern Uganda selfishly used the war situation to tell lies about the NRM Government instead of saying the real and true cause of the war in the North.

He said that they told lies to cause hatred to the NRM in the North and went further to intimidate the population so as to earn political support in the area. He, therefore, expressed happiness that the former LRA rebels have united to counter lies by the opposition politicians in the North, especially during the current elections period.

“Statements such as when you vote NRM, Kony will come back and kill you, characterized most of the past elections’ campaigns which made people vote out of fear and that can’t be called democracy”, the President said.

“I salute you for uniting to fight the psychological slavery of the people of Northern Uganda so that they can make their political decisions free of fear”, he added.

He assured them that Kony will never come back to terrorise the people of Northern Uganda as the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF), is strong enough to counter any negative force that tries to destabilize Uganda. He appealed to them to work hard and embrace government development programmes, such as the National Agricultural and Advisory Services (NAADS) and form SACCOs, so that they get themselves out of poverty and peacefully resettle in their respective communities.

The President said that government will, in the future, consider giving specific support to former LRA rebels to help them resettle and lead meaningful lives in their communities.
ENDS

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Friday, November 19, 2010

Former child soldiers from Uganda meet UK minister Stephen O’Brien

THE UK is backing rehabilitation and recovery in Northern Uganda, including training 150,000 young people who have missed the chance to go to school and helping 4,500 people return to their former homes.

In 2007, the University of California-Berkley’s Human Rights Centre reported that the LRA has abducted up to 38,000 children and 37,000 adults. More than 20,000 children were abducted, and in some cases, girls as young as nine years old were turned into sex slaves. More than 620,000 people still live in camps and at the height of the fighting, violence and disease killed 1,000 people a week.

Full story below.

Child soldiers meet UK minister
Source: SOS Children's Villages - www.soschildrensvillages.org
Author: Hayley Jarvis for SOS Children
Date: Friday, 19 November 2010 at 10:10 AM
Former child soldiers from Uganda this week shared their stories with Britain’s Minister for International Development, on a visit to the UK.

Thousands of Ugandan children were abducted from the north of the central African country by the Lord’s Resistance Army in the eighties and nineties and forced to fight as soldiers and terrorise the communities they grew up in. This violence at the same time as an HIV epidemic, paralysyed the region.

The UK is backing rehabilitation and recovery in Northern Uganda, including training 150,000 young people who have missed the chance to go to school and helping 4,500 people return to their former homes.

“Today I had the privilege to meet with several young Ugandans who have survived abduction and forced enslavement as child soldiers,” said Minister for International Development, Stephen O’Brien.

“These children and teenagers have endured unimaginable suffering and have shown great courage. That they have come to the UK to share their story of restoration shows a great strength and character – I believe these children, and many others like them, will grow to become upstanding citizens, heralding a new generation of hope for Uganda. They are an inspiration to us all as much as to their fellow citizens in Uganda.”

The children, supported by the charity, Watoto, thanked the MP for the UK’s continued involvement and interest in redeveloping Uganda. “Meeting the minister was great,” one of the Ugandan children told the Department for International Development. “It means a lot to me that he met with us to hear about our lives and make us feel welcome.”

Northern Uganda has been the centre of a brutal, 20-year insurgency by a cult-like rebel group that saw two million people uprooted from their homes and tens of thousands kidnapped, mutilated or killed.

Led by self-proclaimed mystic Joseph Kony, the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) is notorious for massacring ordinary people, slicing off the lips of survivors and kidnapping children for use as soldiers, porters and sex slaves. In 2007, the University of California-Berkley’s Human Rights Centre reported that the LRA has abducted up to 38,000 children and 37,000 adults. More than 20,000 children were abducted, and in some cases, girls as young as nine years old were turned into sex slaves. More than 620,000 people still live in camps and at the height of the fighting, violence and disease killed 1,000 people a week.

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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Uganda asks Sudan to provide evidence of aiding Darfur rebels

Uganda asks Sudan to provide evidence of aiding Darfur rebels
Source: Xinhua - english.peopledaily.com
Date: Tuesday, 16 November 2010 at 21:42
The Ugandan government has asked Sudan to prove that the East African country had agreed to train over 80 rebels of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) fighting in Sudan's Darfur region, a senior Foreign Ministry official said on Tuesday.

James Mugume, permanent secretary of the ministry, told Xinhua by telephone that several meetings with Sudanese authorities, including an invitation by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni come to Uganda and verify their claims have yielded nothing since August.

"Absolutely there is no truth in it. We have asked these people to come, we are waiting for them," he said.

According to the allegation, Sudan had got a letter in which a junior Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) officer had written to a military academy director in Uganda to have over 80 JEM rebels trained here.

Daily Monitor, a newspaper here reported on Tuesday that Uganda' s ambassador to Sudan Betty Akech had been summoned twice by the Sudan Foreign Ministry over the allegations.

The daily reported that in such a meeting held on Aug. 16, the Sudanese Foreign Ministry told the ambassador that the allegations had been confirmed by an impeccable source and the "repercussions would be grave."

The Ugandan government, however, doubts the authenticity of the letter wondering how a junior SPLA officer can write to a director of a military academy in Uganda.

"We think somebody was doctoring, the list of the 80 people looked like somebody picked a list of names of some refugees in a camp in Darfur," he said.

Uganda and Sudan had been foes with each of them accusing the other of arming its dissidents.

Sudan accused Uganda of supporting the SPLA rebels who were fighting in southern Sudan, while Uganda accused Sudan of arming rebels of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) that caused tens of thousands of deaths in northern Uganda.

The Ugandan military last month announced that the LRA leader Joseph Kony who has also caused mayhem in the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo had crossed to Darfur.

Lt. Col. Felix Kulayigye, Uganda's army spokesman, told reporters on Oct. 29 that Sudan was aware of Kony's presence in Darfur, but could not say whether the authorities there were supporting him like they did before.

Sudan is currently under international spotlight as it heads for a referendum early next year that will determine whether southern Sudan stays as part of Sudan or breaks away.

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Thursday, November 04, 2010

Uganda: We Are Not a Terrorist Organisation, Says LRA

REBEL group accuses the Bangui meeting of using LRA to beg for assistance from the international community.

Uganda: We Are Not a Terrorist Organisation, Says LRA
Source: News from Africa - www.newsfromafrica.org
Written by: Peter Omondi
Date: Tuesday 19 October 2010
NAIROBI---The Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), Uganda’s rebel group that has been fighting President Yoweri Museveni’s government for the last 24 years has denied that it is a terrorist organization.

The rebel group was reacting to resolutions arrived at by a three-day meeting of countries affected by the northern Uganda conflict was held in Bangui, Central African Republic from 13-15 October. It was attended by the officials of the Peace and Security Commission of the African Union. Besides characterizing the LRA as a terrorist organization, the meeting further agreed to establish a joint military brigade to be backed by the AU to help in the eradication of the LRA.

It also called on the international community, particularly the United States of America and the European Union to fund this proposed new military adventure.

The CAR government spokesman is widely quoted to have told the press, "We are now issuing a call to the United States of America and the European Union to tell them that if they do not help the Central African Republic as soon as possible, the LRA of Joseph Kony will soon join with Al-Qaeda, and it will be very serious." He is also reported to have said that the CAR cannot afford to fight the Ugandan rebels across the country, before adding that, "We do not want to dismiss the LRA out of the CAR, we definitely want to finish, destroy the LRA."

“These are cheap self-serving lies”, said a statement issued to media houses by Justine Labeja, Acting Leader of the LRA Peace Team. “The LRA is not a terrorist organization and is not about to join Al-Qaeda. The LRA is not and has no role in prosecuting war against the peoples and, or governments of CAR, DR Congo, Southern Sudan or the Republic of the Sudan.”

The statement added: “The LRA is simply holding in self defence and in self preservation against a needless regional military campaign that has been mounted under the orchestration and the leadership of the army state of Uganda in the last two years.The LRA should not be used by the governments of these troubled African countries as an excuse to seek assistance from the international community to prop themselves up.”

LRA further accused the countries that met in Bangui as those having their own internal rebellions to deal with.

“The LRA should not be used as a cover and convenience in these conflicts. The Bangui meeting that proposes a 'Rambo' type solution to the 'northern' Uganda and other African conflicts is a mischievous attempt to divert the AU from addressing the root causes of Africa's structurally and politically generated conflicts”, the LRA statement added.

Peace talks between the Ugandan government and the LRA, which were mediated by the Government of Southern Sudan collapsed in 2008 after LRA leader Joseph Kony refused to sign the final peace deal unless the International Criminal Court (ICC) warrants against him and his commanders were withdrawn. LRA has since spread its wings to CAR, DRC and Southern Sudan, and has been accused of carrying out attacks on the civilian population and abducting children for use as soldiers and sex slaves.

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Monday, November 01, 2010

Uganda: War-era guns linked to recent murders - LRA buried guns in coffins so that the arms are well-protected

FROM 1986 to 2006, northern Uganda endured a bloody insurgency by the Lord’s Resistance Army, LRA, in which an estimated 100,000 people were killed and nearly two million displaced.

A spate of gun crime in Lira district has been blamed by police on the wide availability of weaponry left over from Uganda’s civil war.

With many weapons from 20-year civil war still in circulation, police fear wave of killings could continue.

Full story below.

Uganda: War-Era Guns Linked to Recent Murders
Source: The Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR) - iwpr.net
ACR Issue 274
By Bill Oketch
Date: Thursday, 21 October 2010



Photo: Vincent Otti, the late deputy leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army, whose weapons continue to circulate in northern Uganda, posing a threat to the local population. (Photo: Euan Denholm/IRIN)
A spate of gun crime in Lira district has been blamed by police on the wide availability of weaponry left over from Uganda’s civil war.

At the beginning of October, a 60-year-old woman was gunned down over a land dispute in Alito sub-county in Kole district, near the town of Lira. A week earlier, a woman was shot and killed in Barr sub-county, to the east of Lira, also because of a disagreement about land.

At around the same time, two people were shot and killed in Chawente in the neighbouring district of Apac. The police blamed a gang that has been looting and terrorising residents in the area.

Richard Aruk Maruk, Lira’s district police chief, told IWPR that the presence of illegal guns, many a legacy of the conflict, is fuelling the violence.

The regional police spokesman, Henry Alyanga, said that in all the recent murder cases the suspects had been arrested and remanded in custody, but warned the prevalence of unlicenced firearms in the region means that more killings are likely.

From 1986 to 2006, northern Uganda endured a bloody insurgency by the Lord’s Resistance Army, LRA, in which an estimated 100,000 people were killed and nearly two million displaced.

Alyanga claimed that during the conflict, local leaders and those willing to join government forces – most notably paramilitaries such as the Amuka of northern Uganda and the so-called Arrow Boys of north-eastern Uganda – were given arms to protect civilians against LRA raids.

After the war, however, many failed to hand their weapons back, he said.

“People were screened before they got the arms, but some who managed to get through the screening included troublemakers who simply disappeared with the weapons,” Alyanga explained. “They now use the guns in their possession to commit murder. Even those who returned the guns still know where to get such firearms if they want to.”

Musa Ecwero, the minister for disaster preparedness and refugees, accepts that some of those who received weapons have retained them, but says new disarmament efforts are under way.

Christopher Ameny, a cleric in the Aboke archdiocese in Apac district, says former LRA soldiers also provide a source of illegal weapons.

In 2005, Ameny was appointed by the Uganda Joint Christian Council, UJCC, to educate communities about the misuse of firearms.

“During the implementation of the project, we discovered that there are still lots of illegal arms in the region,” Ameny said. “Many of these were in the hands of former LRA fighters. As former fighters returned home, many buried their guns in case they needed them again. [They] even used coffins so that the arms are well-protected from rusting.”

The spate of killings has alarmed people in the region, whose memories of the LRA insurgency are still fresh.

“They have imitated the LRA style of operation against innocent civilians,” said Alfred Opong, a resident at Ojwii camp, outside Lira. “We pray every day to protect ourselves from these bad people who continue to haunt us.”

Some in northern Uganda are now calling for tighter gun controls. Under current laws, ordinary Ugandans can own small handguns only if they have a licence.

However, Charles Odur Kami, a bishop from Lango diocese, argued that there should be stricter rules over who was eligible to hold a licence. “If this was done, firearms would not be entrusted to wrongdoers,” he said.

Not everyone, though, agrees that tougher gun laws would be effective.

“Thugs have got their own tactics for acquiring arms, and it is very difficult to curtail this,” said Godfrey Aluma, resident district commissioner for Lira, adding that it was unlikely that many of the recent murders could have been prevented by tougher gun laws.

Police spokesman Alyanga says that the cause of most of the recent killings was conflict between family members, often over land or allegations of witchcraft.

“When the clan fails to resolve a problem, people take the law into their own hands and kill those that they believe to be behind the mess,” he said. “Of course, they use illegal arms in their possession.”

Alyanga added that, besides stepping up efforts to catch those suspected of possessing illegal weapons, regional police forces have also embarked on a programme to raise awareness among local communities of their rights and Ugandan law.

Lango bishop Kami also said that government policy must go beyond simply arresting and jailing gunmen, and actually try to address the root causes of the recent shootings. Otherwise, he said, “the killings of our people will not stop”.

Bill Oketch is an IWPR-trained journalist.
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