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Cablegate: Northern Uganda: Peace Process Update

VZCZCXRO2380
RR RUEHGI RUEHRN RUEHROV
DE RUEHKM #0059 0151246
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 151246Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY KAMPALA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9875
INFO RUEHKH/AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM 0684
RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RUEHXR/RWANDA COLLECTIVE
RUEHTO/AMEMBASSY MAPUTO 0470
RUEHSA/AMEMBASSY PRETORIA 3417

UNCLAS KAMPALA 000059

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREF PREL MOPS UG SU CG
SUBJECT: NORTHERN UGANDA: PEACE PROCESS UPDATE


1. (SBU) Summary: Members of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA)
delegation plan to meet leader Joseph Kony from January 15-17 to
present the outcome of the consultations held in Uganda. The
logistical and financial preparations for the planned larger meeting
of 300 Ugandans with Kony have been stalled and remain in question,
which could further delay the restart of the Juba talks. Government
of Southern Sudan Vice President Machar met with the Cessation of
Hostilities Monitoring Team (CHMT) over the non-payment of their
allowances since November, and the use of U.S.-donated vehicles.
U.N. Special Envoy for LRA-Affected Areas Joachim Chissano has
delayed his trip to the region. End Summary.

2. (U) The Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) delegation plans to travel
to Rikwangba assembly area from January 15 to 17. The delegation
plans to present the results of its November-December 2007
consultations in Uganda to LRA leader Joseph Kony. It is not clear
if the logistical arrangements for the meeting with Kony have
solidified. The LRA still plans to hold a large consultative
meeting between Kony and about 300 Ugandans, primarily from the
north. The dates for the meeting continue to be pushed back becausQ
of a lack of logistical and financial support. Members of the
Government of Southern Sudan Secretariat for the talks have been on
vacation and approvals for funding stopped over the holidays. The
LRA had wanted to hold the wider consultation on January 18, but
discussions with various LRA delegation members, the Cessation of
Hostilities Monitoring Team (CHMT), and northern leaders indicate
that preparations were chaotic and no firm arrangements or dates had
been set.

3. (SBU) Members of the CHMT met with Government of Southern Sudan
Vice President and mediator for the Juba Talks, Riek Machar, on
January 12. The CHMT told Machar that its members had not been paid
their allowances for November, December, or January and had spent
Christmas in Juba without any transportation or financial means.
Machar apologized to the team, explaining that GOSS Secretariat
members had been on vacation. The CHMT also raised concerns that the
four U.S.-donated trucks were sitting at Sudan Peoples' Liberation
Army (SPLA) headquarters with SPLA license plates on them and were
not with the CHMT. Two different CHMT members told P/E Chief that
they doubt that there will be follow-up on their allowances or the
disposition of the U.S. trucks. P/E Chief raised the issue of the
allowances with Canadian consul in Kampala, Bryan Burton. Burton
promised to look into the issue, as Canada was one of the donors to
the Juba Initiative Fund.

4. (SBU) In a telephone call to Gulu District Chairman Norbert Mao,
Kony "admitted" that he had made a big mistake in killing his
deputy, Vincent Otti. He told Mao that he would explain the
circumstances at the consultation at Rikwangba. Kony worried over
what he described as U.S. pressure on Nigerian President Olusegun
Obasanjo to hand over Charles Taylor to the Special Tribunal on
Sierra Leone, and U.S. involvement in Saddam Hussein's hanging.
Kony also complained about the looming January 31 deadline. Mao
asked Kony what it would take for him to accept a peace deal. Kony
did not have an answer, but Mao felt he made some progress with the
LRA leader in terms of getting him to focus on the elements of a
deal rather than the January 31 deadline, which President Museveni
said was flexible if there were irreversible progress at the talks.


5. (SBU) Meanwhile, Gulu Resident District Commissioner, Walter
Ochora, and Col. Charles Otema, Director, Special Operations,
Ugandan Peoples' Defense Forces (UPDF) warned that the Government of
Uganda could not guarantee security for northerners traveling to
Rikwangba for the consultations. Ochora told P/E Chief and DATT on
January 8 that he had serious concerns about Kony's mental state and
worried that he might do something unpredictable at the gathering.
Ochora and Otema do not believe Kony is interested in a peaceful end
to the conflict. They believe that Kony will need to be under
significant military pressure in order to agree to a deal; even
then, the prospects for a lasting agreement would be elusive.

6. (SBU) Comment: The Juba peace process is off to a rough start
after the holidays. We expect U.N. Special Envoy Joachim Chissano's
visit to the region, now delayed a week, might lend some clarity on
the timeline for the talks to resume. He also will likely remind
the LRA that there is some flexibility in the deadline as long as
there is progress at the negotiations. End Comment.
CHRITTON

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