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Cablegate: Northern Uganda Notes (May 1-18, 2007)

VZCZCXRO2579
RR RUEHGI RUEHRN RUEHROV
DE RUEHKM #0871/01 1420735
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 220735Z MAY 07
FM AMEMBASSY KAMPALA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8784
INFO RUEHKH/AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM 0578
RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RUEHXR/RWANDA COLLECTIVE
RUEHTO/AMEMBASSY MAPUTO 0401
RUEHSA/AMEMBASSY PRETORIA 3255
RHMFIUU/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 KAMPALA 000871

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT PASS TO USAID AND OFDA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PREF PREL MOPS ASEC CASC EAID UG SU
SUBJECT: NORTHERN UGANDA NOTES (May 1-18, 2007)


1. (U) Summary: The following Northern Uganda Notes provides
information on the situation on the ground and USG activities aimed
at meeting Mission's objectives in northern Uganda. These
objectives include promoting regional stability through peace and
security, good governance, access to social services, economic
growth, and humanitarian assistance. Post appreciates feedback from
consumers on the utility of this product and any gaps in information
that need to be filled. End Summary.

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PEACE AND RECONCILIATION PROCESSES
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2. (U) Negotiations between the Government of Uganda and the Lord's
Resistance Army (LRA) resumed on April 26. Initial sessions were
bogged down on the issue of allowances for the LRA delegates. The
LRA requested face-to-face meetings with the GOU delegation to
finalize agreement on Agenda Item Two: Comprehensive Solutions.
After initially reviving demands for ministerial positions and
control over development funds in northern Uganda, the LRA relented
and agreed to sign a text that was a combination of provisions from
the Ugandan Constitution and the Northern Uganda Peace, Recovery,
and Development Plan (PRDP). Other issues were deferred to an
"implementing protocol." The signed document was similar to what
had been agreed in December 2006.

3. (U) The peace talks recessed on May 3 to allow the LRA delegates
to travel to Rikwangba to consult with LRA leaders Joseph Kony and
Vincent Otti. The resumption date for the talks has slipped from
May 14 to May 31 to give the LRA more time to discuss the next
agenda item, "justice and accountability."

4. (SBU) Donors continue to grapple with financial and
accountability issues related to the Juba Initiative Fund. A
streamlined approval process with specified regulations as to what
can be paid has been developed by the donors and U.N. Office of the
Coordinator for Humanitarian Affairs. This will be administered by
KPMG, an accounting firm. Meanwhile, the LRA continues to demand
increased allowances and more frequent travel out of Juba. The
Government of South Sudan requested that the secretariat staff be
paid for out of the JIF, which the donors rejected. UNOCHA has
prepared a document clearly stating the allowable expenses and
process through which funds would be disbursed. Discussion of the
allowances will be raised when the talks resume.

5. (SBU) USG Activities: Africa Bureau Deputy Assistant Secretary
James Swan discussed the prospects for a peace agreement with GOU
negotiators, parliamentarians, and military officials during his
visit to Uganda from May 7-8. Government negotiators outlined a new
approach on the issues of justice and accountability, which will
focus on teaching the LRA leaders about their judicial options,
rather than focus on traditional reconciliation mechanisms. The GOU
expressed its satisfaction with the level of support from the U.S.
for the peace process. Northern parliamentarians raised the issue
of the LRA's designation on terrorist lists and the International
Criminal Court indictments as impediments to the peace process.
They expressed disappointment with the LRA delegation's delaying
tactics at the talks, and expressed concerns about the
marginalization of non-Acholi districts in terms of humanitarian
assistance. Military officials claim that the LRA is regrouping and
rearming in Garamba National Park and described their efforts to
work with Uganda's neighbors on joint operations.

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SECURITY UPDATE
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6. (U) The Ugandan Peoples' Defense Forces (UPDF) and Sudan
Peoples' Liberation Army (SPLA) gave the LRA the approved corridors
for assembly of LRA forces from Owiny Kibul area to Rikwangba on May
8. After Kony and Otti give their approval of the routes, the LRA
forces in that area will have seven days to assemble at Rikwangba.
LRA members in other parts of southern Sudan or northern Uganda have
until June 30 to assemble.

7. (U) The LRA reportedly ambushed vehicles on the Gulu-Nimule road
at the Uganda-Sudan border on April 30. Seven people were killed,
several reportedly abducted, and property looted. LRA leaders are
playing down the incident. LRA deputy, Vincent Otti, called Radio
Mega FM in Gulu and said that LRA members should not attack
civilians.

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KAMPALA 00000871 002 OF 003


HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE AND ECONOMIC RECOVERY
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8. (U) UNHCR released statistics on population movement in northern
Uganda for March. In the Acholi sub-region (Amuru, Gulu, Kitgum,
and Pader districts) only one percent of the population has returned
to their villages of origin, far lower than expected. Twenty-four
percent are believed to be in decongestion sites or transit camps.
Nonetheless, UNHCR estimates that 80 percent of the
internally-displaced persons (IDPs) are accessing up to four acres
of land.

9. (U) In contrast, returns in non-Acholi districts are higher. In
Lango District, 76 percent of IDPs have returned to their villages
of origin and 24 percent remain in camps. The numbers of IDPs in
transit in Lango are negligible. Humanitarian organizations say
that those IDPs remaining in camps in Lango are likely to remain
permanently in towns and trading centers. Sanitation in remaining
camps is deteriorating now that humanitarian organizations are no
longer overseeing services or maintaining garbage pits. USAID/OFDA
Northern Uganda Advisor states that the transition of the camps
could provide an opportunity to increase the capacity of local
governments in planning and delivery of services at the sub-county
level.

10. (U) The GOU and UNDP/Mine Action are addressing complaints
raised by de-miners who recently stopped working. Salaries for the
de-miners will be increased, district hospitals have agreed to treat
injured de-miners and medics will be deployed with each team. The
de-miners also want an ambulance deployed with each team and have
requested a higher level of training. The training options are
being explored in Kenya. The GOU and UNDP/Mine Action report that
there are more sites than expected, including large weapons caches
that require higher-level explosive ordnance disposal for which the
de-miners are not trained.

11. (SBU) USG Activities: P/E Chief and Democracy and Governance
Advisor attended a briefing in Kampala by John Holmes, the new U.N.
Under-Secretary for Humanitarian Affairs on May 16. This was
Holmes' first visit to Uganda. He described Ugandan government
officials as skeptical that the Juba peace process would yield an
agreement. Government officials described the LRA as a spent force
and said that if the talks failed, the LRA would not be able to
"create chaos" in northern Uganda. President Museveni emphasized
the importance of putting "an end to impunity" with regard to the
LRA. The Prime Minister's office emphasized the importance of
moving from relief to development.

12. (SBU) Holmes stated that he wanted to meet with Ugandan
Government officials before he made any decisions on how to move
forward on the issue of the humanitarian coordinator. He did not
anticipate repeating the same process that failed to gain government
acceptance of Elizabeth Rassmussen's nomination. The status quo was
not acceptable to Holmes either. He anticipated working out a
compromise between both positions, and promised to consult widely
with the field in making a decision.

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IN THE MEDIA AND THE WEB
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13. (U) During his recent visit to Uganda, Deputy Assistant
Secretary Swan participated in an on-the-record roundtable

SIPDIS
discussion on May 8 with journalists from The New Vision, The Daily
Monitor, The EastAfrican, The Weekly Observer and Uganda Radio
Network. While the journalists were primarily focused on the UPDF's
deployment in Somalia, and Ugandan democratization and human rights
practices, they also asked about U.S. support for the Juba talks and
our position on the ICC indictments of four LRA leaders. Swan
replied: "With respect to the negotiations in Juba with the LRA, in
general, we very much support the African-led mediation in Juba,
which also benefits obviously from the support of former president
Chissano and now from the presence of other African observer
countries that are represented in Juba. We think that this process
needs to go forward and we endorse that process. We also think that
it is important that commitments that have been made as part of the
process be respected - in this case, notably, the requirement that
the LRA proceed to the assembly point at Ri-Kwangba before June 30,
so we are very eager to see that happen."

14. (U) Swan continued, "With respect to the International Criminal
Court (ICC), clearly this is something that is going to have to be
worked out between the government of Uganda and the ICC in terms of

KAMPALA 00000871 003 OF 003


determining a way forward. The U.S. priority in this situation is
for peace. We, as you know, are not signatories to the ICC charter
- the Rome Charter - but we believe very strongly that there needs
to be justice and accountability for those who committed abuses in
northern Uganda."

15. (U) The full transcript of the press roundtable is available on
the U.S. Mission Website (http://kampala.usembassy.gov).
CHRITTON

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