LRA Want Power-Sharing
â€œIf he agrees on the positions that we want, then we can share power,â€? Otti continued, referring to Museveni. â€œIf he does not agree, then we can continue talking. But if he rejects our positions completely then we will go backwardâ€”then the battle has begun.â€?
(Part 1 and 2 of these stories can be found in the International section here at Black Star News Online. Otti, far right, shown with Southern Sudan VP Dr. Riek Machar, middle, and on the left is LRA chief Joseph Kony)
An ideal outcome of the impending negotiations next week between the Lord's Resistance Army and the Uganda government would be a power-sharing agreement, says Vincent Otti, the LRA's number two commander, who revealed for the first time some of his groups demands.
In a telephone interview July 8th with The Black Star News Otti told this newspaper that the talks, slated to start Wednesday June 12th in Juba, the capital of Southern Sudan, would likely run through Saturday. If all goes well, the preliminary talks could lead to a ceasefire, paving the way for full scale negotiations where the LRA would then table all its demands, Otti said. Fighting would stop â€œpermanentlyâ€? unless the government rejects the LRAâ€™s demands outright, in which case war could resume.
Additionally, the LRA want assurances directly from the government of President Yoweri Museveni and the International Criminal Court (ICC) that its top commanders wouldn't later be arrested and sent to The Hague, after a peace treaty. The LRA also wants the United States, Britain and Canada to serve as observers and witnesses to the negotiations and any deal that arises from the talks, to assure that it doesnâ€™t later collapse, Otti said.
â€œThat is a matter that will be on the table," Otti added, when asked how the LRA and the Uganda government can conclude a pact considering the outstanding arrest warrants from the ICC for the LRA's top commanders. â€œIf the government really wants permanent peace in Uganda then the matter of the ICC should be lifted out officially. We have to hear that from the mouth of Yoweri Museveni and from the mouth of the prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo,â€? he added, referring to the Ugandan ruler and the ICC chief prosecutor, respectively. While the Ugandan president has offered amnesty to the LRAâ€™s commanders Moreno-Ocampo this week insisted that they should be arrested to stand trial.
The LRAâ€™s demands include integrating its fighters into the national army and positionsâ€”Otti didnâ€™t specify whether in the army or governmentâ€”for its commanders. â€œWe can co-exist,â€? Otti added, when asked how the LRA could be integrated into the Ugandan army after bitter war of almost 20 years accompanied by allegations of human rights abuse on both sides. â€œIf he agrees on the positions that we want, then we can share power,â€? Otti continued, referring to Museveni. â€œIf he does not agree, then we can continue talking. But if he rejects our positions completely then we will go backwardâ€”then the battle has begun.â€?
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