United Nations Backs Uganda Negotiations

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Contrary to Uganda government statements to local media there, the U.N. sees the Juba Peace Talks, named after the Southern Sudan city where negotiations have occurred, as the way forward to resolve the Ugandan crises.

[Global: Uganda]

The United Nations, Dec. 24—Following a presentation to The Security Council by Joaquim Chissano the Special United Nations Representative to Uganda's Peace Talks, the Council has endorsed continuation of the negotiations and called on the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) to sign a final deal.

Contrary to Uganda government statements to local media there, the U.N. sees the Juba Peace Talks, named after the Southern Sudan city where negotiations have occurred, as the way forward to resolve the Ugandan crises.

"The Security Council reiterates its welcome for the Final Peace Agreement (FPA), negotiated between the Government of Uganda and the LRA, and reached through the Juba Peace Process," reads the statement from the Security Council. "The Council commends the Government of Uganda for its continued commitment to the FPA and its investment in the peace process."

The Council also called on the Uganda government to speed up spending for economic recovery for the war-devastated northern part of the country. Chisanno, who was not available to be interviewed, briefed the Security Council on December 17.

While giving tacit approval to the recent joint military action "to address the security threat posed by the LRA" in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Southern Sudan, the Security Council called on Uganda, DRC and Southern Sudan "to ensure that all actions are carried out in accordance with international humanitarian, human rights and refugee law and to take appropriate measures to protect civilians."

Some members of Parliament in Uganda, including Ronald R. Okumu have criticized the Uganda government’s military action against the LRA, including aerial bombardment, saying it jeopardized the lives of young boys and girls abducted by the rebels who are in the camps.

The Security Council also thanked Chissano, the former Mozambique president, for agreeing to continue as the Secretary General’s Special Representative. "The Council welcomes President Chissano’s readiness to continue in his role for a further period," reads the Security Council statement.

The Security Council also condemned "the repeated failure of Joseph Kony to sign the FPA," the statement added.

"It calls upon the LRA to sign and honor the FPA immediately and to begin the process of Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration to ensure a peaceful, political solution."

Kony has in the past said he would not sign a deal unless the outstanding indictment and warrant for his arrest by the International Criminal Court (ICC) was suspended. No such deal is on the table; not at least for now. The Security Council confirmed its commitment to the indictment. "The Council reaffirms that ending impunity is essential for a society recovering from conflict to come to terms with past abuses committed against civilians and to prevent their recurrence," the statement reads, regarding the indictment.

The UN also condemned the LRA’s recent military operations in DRC and Southern Sudan, "which pose a continuing threat to regional security," the statement reads. "It demands that the LRA cease its recruitment and use of children and that it release immediately all women, children and other non-combatants, in accordance with Security Council resolution 1612 (2005)."

"The Security Council welcomes the re-establishment of peace and security in northern Uganda," continues the statement.

"It encourages the Government of Uganda, with the support of international partners, to honor its commitment to accelerate reconciliation, recovery and development in that region through rapid implementation of its Peace, Recovery and Development Plan (PRDP) and relevant Agenda items in the FPA and to disburse anticipated financing for the PRDP without delay."

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