UN: Uganda rebel leader ready for resumption of talks

Ugandan rebel leader Joseph Kony wants to resume talks with the government to end a drawn-out conflict in northern Uganda, an aide to the top United Nations envoy said on Monday.

Kony, whose Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) has been fighting the government of Uganda for more than 20 years, telephoned Joaquim Chissano, the UN special envoy to northern Uganda, approximately two weeks ago and said he wanted to resume talks, Warner Ten Kate said.

“Kony talked to Mr Chissano, saying he wanted to meet and we are working towards a meeting,” Kate said.

Peace talks sponsored by Sudan and the UN halted in April when Kony refused to sign a peace accord on the grounds of outstanding arrest warrants from the International Criminal Court over alleged war crimes.

Steven Kagoda, a member of the government’s delegation to the talks, said there was a chance a final peace accord could be signed within the next two weeks, but indicated that the government was not prepared to enter into another lengthy round of negotiations.

“The talks are over. The negotiations are over. It’s just the signing that we are waiting for. At this point, it is really up to Joseph Kony. If he is ready to sign, we are ready to sign,” Kagoda said.

Norbert Mao, the chairperson of Gulu district and a key player in the northern peace process, expressed some concern regarding the government’s refusal to re-open discussions.

“I think Joseph Kony has some reservations about agenda item number three,” Mao said, referring to the section of the deal that addresses justice and accountability.

“[Kony] wants to make sure there won’t be any treachery,” he added.

Kony has expressed concern in the past he might be arrested and tried after signing a peace deal.—AFP

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