Friday, November 21, 2008

LRA's Kony wants to revive peace talks

November 21, 2008 report from New Vision by Milton Olupot
Kony wants to revive peace talks:
THE elusive Lord’s Resistance Army leader, Joseph Kony, has once again expressed interest in reviving and concluding the peace process that collapsed early this year.

International relations state minister Henry Okello Oryem told journalists at Parliament on Wednesday that former Mozambican President Joaquim Chissano would on November 29 lead a team to meet Kony in Nabanga, Southern Sudan.

After a meeting between the LRA, the Government negotiating team and other stakeholders at Speke Resort Munyonyo, early this month, the LRA was asked to unconditionally sign the final peace agreement before the end of this month.

Southern Sudanese Vice President Dr. Riek Machar and a team from Uganda will be part of the delegation that is expected to attend the meeting.

“The international community has once again availed an opportunity for Kony to come out and sign the peace agreement. Kony has also indicated that he will be there. This will be the last chance for the rebels,” Oryem said.

He said the LRA had recently intensified its attacks on the Congolese communities after the DR Congo government withdrew its troops from the Garamba area where the rebels are based, to boost its capacity against the fighters of Laurent Nkunda.

Kony has for the last 22 years waged a brutal war against the NRM government, killing, maiming and displacing thousands of people in the north and north eastern parts of the country. He agreed to have peace negotiations with the Government, but has since early this year shunned meetings where he was supposed to sign the peace agreement. He reportedly wants ICC to withdraw the indictments against him and other LRA commanders before he signs.

President Yoweri Museveni while meeting the chief negotiator for the Juba peace talks, Machar, at State House Nakasero recently, said he was ready to sign the peace deal and the Government can only approach the Security Council for deferment of the warrant after Kony has signed the agreement.

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