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Cablegate: Juba Peace Talks Deadlocked Over Power Sharing

VZCZCXRO4627
PP RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #0259/01 0531053
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 221053Z FEB 08
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0012
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 000259

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF/SPG, S/CRS, AF SE WILLIAMSON
ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU
DEPT PLS PASS USAID FOR AFR/SUDAN

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PTER PGOV SU UG
SUBJECT: JUBA PEACE TALKS DEADLOCKED OVER POWER SHARING


1. (SBU) The Juba Peace Talks between the Government of Uganda and
the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) resumed on January 30. If an
agreement is signed in the next week as hoped for, it is an
historical step that will bring an end to a conflict that has lasted
more than 20 years, resulted in extensive suffering and loss of life
and hampered development in northern Uganda.

2. (SBU) The initial talks lasted for just a few days, broke off,
and then resumed again on February 18 to consider five annexes to
the original agreement. The negotiations, which are being held in
Juba, are between a delegation of the Ugandan Government, led by
Minister of Internal Affairs Rugunda and State Minister for
International Affairs Oryem-Okello, and an LRA delegation led by
David Matsanga. The talks are chaired by the vice-president of
Southern Sudan, Dr. Rieck Machar, and co-chaired by the UN special
envoy and former president Joaquim Chissano. Official observers at
the talks include representatives from the DRC, Mozambique, South
Africa, Kenya and Tanzania; the EU, the U.S. and Norway. Besides
the official observers, who will sign the agreements as witnesses, a
number of other observers are present, including UN agencies,
Ugandan MPs, and representatives from Ugandan civil society.

3. (SBU) Two of the five annexes have been signed so far, one
extending a ceasefire between the LRA and the GoU until the end of
this month, and the other the Accountability and Reconciliation
Annex, which was signed February 19. Deliberations on that Annex
were intense, but both parties seemed determined to conclude the
agreement and were willing to make concessions. Largely owing to
intensive shuttle diplomacy by the chief-mediator and UN envoy
Chissano, the agreement was concluded by 3 AM on February 19. The
international observers signed as witnesses, including the U.S. The
sticking point in this Annex revolved around the issue of arrest
warrants issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for three
LRA leaders, including Kony. The LRA position was that the Ugandan
government should take the case to the Security Council to suspend
the indictments for one year to give time for Ugandan justice to
deal with Kony. In the final text, however, this was not mentioned
and the reference to the requirements of the Rome Statute of the ICC
now contained in the agreement was satisfactory to the parties and
the international community present.

4. (SBU) While the peace talks in Juba are proceeding, a group of
LRA fighters is allegedly moving from Garamba national park in the
DRC along the border at the Sudanese side towards the Central
African Republic. If this is proven true, it constitutes a clear
breach of the cessation of hostilities agreement. A second group of
rebels is attacking villages in South Sudan, close to the Imatongas
mountain range and is, according to the UN and local authorities, a
LRA-related group. The LRA denies responsibility and the official
report from the Cessation of Hostilities Monitoring Team does not
attribute these acts of violence to the LRA. The reasons behind this
can be either that the attacks are either not carried out by the LRA
or that all parties are keen on avoiding further complications now
that the signing of an agreement is within reach. (Comment: We
believe some factions of the LRA have splintered away from Kony and
have joined with local bandits and SPLA deserters to form new
groups. One combatant was captured that we know of, and he turned
out to be a SPLA deserter of Dinka origin. End comment)

5. (SBU) Currently, the talks are now deadlocked around the issue of
power-sharing and the integration of former LRA combatants into the
Ugandan army. The LRA is insisting that five Northern Ugandans be
appointed to ministerial level positions, although they do not have
to be from the LRA, and that LRA soldiers be admitted into the army
at their current rank. The GoU delegation does not want to set a
precedent of rewarding a rebel movement by agreeing to appoint new
ministers, especially not this rebel movement, and it insists that
the structure of the LRA is not the same as in the regular army and
therefore LRA officers would have to be assessed and assigned
appropriate rank to be admitted into the regular armed forces. Both
sides have agreed to let these two points go for the time being in
an attempt to settle on all other disputes. They will return to
them at the end. The feeling is that the GoU might make some
concessions if it knows that only these two points remain to be
settled in order to conclude a peace agreement. However, at one
point the LRA delegation walked out of the talks on Thursday night.
Intensive shuttle diplomacy continues between the two sides,
however, and there is reason to believe the walk-out was for
dramatic effect.

6. Comment: If no agreement can be concluded by the end of next
week, the talks will likely collapse. The Sudanese are doing their
best to pressure each side to make accommodations for the sake of
peace, but it is difficult to predict the outcome at this time. For
the Juba Peace Talks to succeed, continued engagement and pressure
by the international community is essential.

KHARTOUM 00000259 002 OF 002


FERNANDEZ

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