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Cablegate: Lra Peace Talks Set to Resume Amid Renewed Attacks

VZCZCXRO2508
PP RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #0567 1021125
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 121125Z APR 07
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6801
INFO RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RUEHKI/AMEMBASSY KINSHASA 0073
RUEHTO/AMEMBASSY MAPUTO 0012
RUEHSA/AMEMBASSY PRETORIA 0145

UNCLAS KHARTOUM 000567

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR AF/SPG
PLEASE PASS TO USAID FOR AFR

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PINR KDEM MARR MOPS SU UG
SUBJECT: LRA PEACE TALKS SET TO RESUME AMID RENEWED ATTACKS
IN SOUTHERN SUDAN


1.(U) Summary: The Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS)-led
peace talks with the Ugandan Lord,s Resistance Army (LRA)
are set to resume in Southern Sudan the week of April 9.
Talks will include mediators from South Africa, Kenya and
Mozambique, as the LRA has demanded. There have been at
least three reported LRA attacks in Southern Sudan during
March. End Summary.

Juba Talks Restarting
---------------------

2.(U) The Co-Chairman of the GOSS Secretariat for the LRA
Peace Talks, who is also a Member of the Southern Sudan
Legislative Assembly (SSLA), told the Consul General recently
that South Africa, Kenya, and Mozambique would be sending
representatives to Juba to join the GOSS-led LRA mediation
efforts. Advance teams are to arrive April 9. By the end of
that week, the expanded mediating team is expected to arrive
in Juba and then go to Nbanga (Democratic Republic of the
Congo) to meet with LRA leaders Joseph Kony and Vincent Otti.
UN Special Envoy on the LRA Peace Process and former
Mozambican President Joachim Chissano is expected to travel
to Nbanga.

3. (U) Subsequently, the expanded mediation team will go to
Ri Kwangba (Southern Sudan) to meet up with the other LRA
commanders. The Government of Uganda (GOU) delegation will
go to Ri Kwangba, along with GOSS lead mediator Vice
President Dr. Riek Machar. The GOSS officials believe that
the LRA mediators, venue shopping has been successfully
rebuffed by the regional states and that Juba offers the best
and last chance for reaching a negotiated settlement. Up to
eighty UN, GOSS, and other international participants will be
traveling to Nbanga and then to Ri Kwangba to restart the
peace talks, according to a UN contact.

4. (U) The Catholic relief organization Caritas International
is reportedly bringing three truckloads of food to feed the
LRA members who will return to the Ri Kwangba assembly area.
The food will not be turned over to the LRA, however, but
remain under the control of the GOSS, according to the GOSS
official. The provision of food has been a critical issue,
with Kony threatening not to resume talks until his men were
provided with adequate supplies. UN officials recently
complained to ConGen staff that Austria, Sweden, and Denmark
had abruptly cut off food distributions which they were
giving to the LRA remnants still at Ri Kwangba, following an
escalation in violent attacks in Southern Sudan over the last
two months.

5. (U) The GOSS legislator said the SSLA had provided USD 2
million for the continuation of the peace process, but noted
that the GOSS still needed significant contributions from the
international community to sustain the talks. The LRA
mediating team was receiving USD 70 a day during the last
round of talks and is expecting to receive as much this time,
which the UN is reportedly likely to cover.

LRA Attacks and Looting Continue
--------------------------------

6. (U) During March, at least three violent attacks
attributed to the LRA occurred in Southern Sudan,s Eastern
Equatoria region near the Uganda border. Several earlier
attacks took place in Western Equatoria. In two separate
incidents, buses were attacked on the Nimule Road in March,
resulting in several deaths, scores of injuries and property
looted. The Sudan People,s Liberation Army (SPLA) has
deployed approximately 3,000 men along this critical road
from Uganda to Juba, but is reportedly only in a defensive
posture.

7. (SBU) According to a GOSS official, Vice President Machar
downplays the ongoing attacks by the LRA because he fears
such information will undermine his mediation efforts. The
GOSS contact added that many in the GOSS believe that
Khartoum continues to support the LRA and is not encouraging
a quick resolution of the conflict.

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