LRA "Suspends" Uganda Peace Talks?
The statement cannot be independently verified and was received by e-mail message. While the purported statement's authenticity remains unverified, the LRA commander Joseph Kony failed to appear at a signing ceremony for a peace deal today. The statement purporting to be from the LRA says a new negotiating team will be forged by â€œMr Alex and Mr Bill,â€? without providing their full names or indicating who they are.
[Statement Purportedly From LRA]
The Black Star News has received a statement purporting to be from the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), saying the organization is suspending peace talks with the Uganda government and dismissing its current negotiating team.
"Our forces shall continue to observe the agreement of Cessation of Hostilities, including cessation of Hostile Propaganda," the statement, attributed to the LRA commander Joseph Kony, reads.
The statement cannot be independently verified and was received by e-mail message. While the purported statement's authenticity could not be confirmed, the LRA commander failed to appear at a signing ceremony for a peace deal today.
The press release purported to be from the LRA signs off with "His Excellency Maj. General Joseph Kony Commander in chief of LRA Chairman of LRA Peace Talks," and unnamed "Commanders" as well as an "LRA Military Council."
The LRA commander Kony was supposed to put his signature on a deal to end fighting with the Ugandan government under Yoweri Museveni, but Uganda media reports that the rebel chief was a no-show at Ri-Kwangba, a Congo-Sudan border town.
According to Uganda media reports, Kony was supposed to ink an agreement before witnesses and Museveni, separately, sign at another ceremony in Juba, capital of Southern Sudan, on April 15.
The statement purporting to be from the LRA says a new negotiating team will be forged by “Mr Alex and Mr Bill,” without providing their full names or indicating who they are. Kony’s most recently known base is somewhere in the Central African Republic.
The LRA has gone through numerous changes in its negotiating team since talks started with the Uganda government to end the 20-years of conflict. The statement purportedly from the LRA also criticized peace mediator Dr. Riek Machar, VP of Southern Sudan, whose name is misspelt in the statement, as well as special United Nations envoy, former Mozambique president Joachim Chissano.
The statement also accuses the International Criminal Court (ICC) of selectively prosecuting the LRA while sparing the Uganda government and its forces for alleged crimes against humanity. The ICC indicted Kony and four of his top commanders; some of them have been killed.
Machar, members of parliament, traditional leaders and other dignitaries spent a fruitless day waiting for Kony today for the signing, Uganda media reported.
Under a Uganda government proposal, a special division within Uganda’s High Court is to handle the prosecution of the alleged war crimes by the LRA.
The ICC last month told The Black Star News that the indictments against Kony and his colleagues would remain in place and that the court had nothing to do the current peace talks between the LRA and Uganda government.
The statement purporting to be from the LRA and received at 4:36 PM Eastern Standard Time (US) appears in its entirety below:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 10/04/2008
PEACE TALKS BETWEEN LRA AND UGANDA GOVERNMENT IS SUSPENDED.
The Lords Resistance Army suspends all contacts with the Uganda government and dissolves peace negotiation team with immediate effect. Agreements 2,3,4,5 nullified.
It’s very unfortunate that we have been Mislead in the solutions to resolve the conflict. As a result of having been misled with the full presence of observers, Mr. Chissano (UN) and other parties associated with the peace talks, my office has no alternative but to temporary suspend the talks with immediate effect until further notice. Our forces shall continue to observe the agreement of Cessation of Hostilities, including cessation of Hostile Propaganda.
Reasons for suspension;.
1. The Lack of a Neutral Mediator for mediation process, and signed military cooperation with the Government of southern Sudan, deployments of hostile forces from Uganda and others working within Dr Reik Marcher’s office not healthy towards any credible environment of dialogue.
2. Members of LRA /M Delegation cannot be productive, nor effective, nor constructively operate in insecure Juba and Dr Machar as Mediator of the talks.
3. The Lack of Understanding and Full Commitment by International Community.
4. The Interference by the ICC (International Criminal Court) selective justice has sought to prosecute one party in conflict (the LRA) while excusing the other (the government of Uganda and Ugandan People Defense Force).
5. The models of modalities that are standard for negotiating successful Comprehensive Peace Agreement are all missing and Inadequate Administration facilities.
6. The Lack of Seriousness by the Government of Uganda in which it has rejected all demands made by the LRA. The intimidation, bulling and bribery of LRA delegates and its programs of ending the war with military force is not helpful to ending conflict.
7. The incompetence of H.E former President Joachim Alberto Chissano a special Envoy of the UN secretary General lacks expertise and experience in all fields of Conflict Resolution.
8. The failure of the repatriation of Internal Displaced peoples in several hundreds camps indicated that the government of Uganda was still planning aggression.
The Lords Resistance Army is committed to peace and therefore seeks an end to the conflict through negotiated means, it appreciates the opportunity to secure lasting peace therefore offers the olive branch for cooperation in ending the deadly war.
In the interest for peace the High command has appointed Mr Alex and Mr Bill to forge anew negotiation delegation under a political structure to salvage the peace negotiation which has now collapsed. We have the confidence under such credible formation; peace is achievable with the correct modalities for negotiation with the Uganda.
Maj.General Joseph Kony
Commander in chief of LRA
Chairman of LRA Peace Talks
LRA Military Council