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Cablegate: Lra Peace Talks Conclude, Await Signing of Final Agreement

VZCZCXYZ5611
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHKH #0324/01 0641428
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 041428Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0117
INFO RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RUEHXR/RWANDA COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS KHARTOUM 000324

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF A/S FRAZER, AF/E, AF/C, AF/SPG
DEPT PLEASE PASS TO NSC

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL PREF UG CG SU
SUBJECT: LRA PEACE TALKS CONCLUDE, AWAIT SIGNING OF FINAL AGREEMENT


1. (SBU) Summary: The Government of Uganda and the Lord's
Resistance Army (LRA) signed agreements on the two outstanding
agenda items: the Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration and
the Implementing Commitments and Mechanisms. The Government of
Southern Sudan mediator, Vice President Riek Machar, was
disappointed that the parties could not agree on a specific date for
the signing of the Final Peace Agreement beyond an understanding
that the agreement must be signed on or before March 28. With that
commitment, the GOU agreed to extend the Cessation of Hostilities
Agreement until March 28. The LRA delegation planned to travel to
The Hague to meet with the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Machar may call the parties back to Juba on March 12 to extract an
exact signing date. End Summary.

2. (U) The Government of Uganda and Lord's Resistance Army (LRA)
signed the agreements on the Disarmament, Demobilization, and
Reintegration and the Implementation Protocol on February 29. These
were the remaining sections of the overall peace agreement. The LRA
refused to sign the umbrella or chapeau document, the Final Peace
Agreement, or set a date for the signing ceremony until LRA leader,
Joseph Kony, had assurances from the ICC that it would honor the
agreement.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
KONY REMAINS PREOCCUPIED WITH ICC
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

3. (SBU) Kony's demand allegedly emanated from the LRA's trip to
Rikwangba on February 28. The LRA delegation said it needed to take
the final peace documents to Kony. According to the LRA's lead
negotiator, David Matsanga, Kony accepted the agreement, but
remained concerned about the ICC warrants. Kony wanted assurances
from the ICC that it would respect a UNSC deferment of the warrants.
The LRA team claimed that Kony wanted its members to spend the
night in Rikwangba. The LRA delegates also insisted on traveling to
The Hague before the final deal was signed.

4. (SBU) The GOU raised doubts that the LRA delegation saw Kony at
Rikwangba because no vehicles had been sent from Juba to take the
delegation from Nabanga, where the helicopter landed, to the
assembly area. When Kampala P/E Chief asked about vehicles, the LRA
delegation said a 12-passenger truck drove through the night from
Juba to transport them. Other sources tell us that the LRA
delegation met with LRA generals Santo Alit and Thomas Kwoyelo, and
possibly General Abugarda. We cannot verify whether or not the LRA
delegates saw Kony, but it appears unlikely. They may have spoken
to Kony via satellite telephone.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - -
TWO FINAL DOCUMENTS SIGNED
- - - - - - - - - - - - - -

5. (U) Kony reportedly gave the LRA delegation permission to sign
the remaining documents on DDR and the implementing protocol. The
LRA's delegation leader, Matsanga, stated the LRA had achieved what
people predicted could not be done and that he felt the agreement
was well-negotiated with international support under the auspices of
the Government of Southern Sudan. He thanked U.N. Special Enovy for
LRA-Affected Area Joachim Chissano for advising the LRA that every
negotiation involves risk and that if the LRA did not take the risk,
it could not be part of the process. Matsanga boldly announced that
Kony would sign the Final Peace Agreement alongside President
Museveni. He challenged the United States to put up the necessary
infrastructure, i.e. tents and latrines, at Rikwangba as incentives
for the LRA to assemble.

6. (U) Matsanga also stated the Kony instructed him to urge the
internally-displaced persons (IDPs) to return to their homes.
Matsanga claimed that Kony was unhappy that Ugandans were living as
prisoners in the IDP camps. Matsanga also asked that the Ugandan
Government take the agreement to The Hague with assurances that the
LRA would not return to armed struggle. He also said that support
for the deferment would be needed at the UNSC among the permanent
members. Matsanga's final point was that Uganda was not/not a
failed state, like Sierra Leone or Liberia, and that the ICC must
allow the Ugandan courts to work. The ICC was designed to handle
cases for failed states, argued Matsanga. He also promised that
Kony would come out on the radio to give his analysis of the
agreement and tell Ugandans why he supported the peace process.
Matsanga claimed that spoilers constantly called members of the LRA
delegation with complaints that the process was moving too fast. He
accused the GOU of hosting spoilers. His final statement was that
the LRA would challenge the Government for power in the 2011
elections.

7. (U) In his remarks, the leader of Uganda's delegation, Ruhakana
Rugunda, saluted the parties, the mediator, Chissano, and the
observers. He hoped that the substantial progress made was an
indication of what was to come as both parties fused into one team
to ensure peace in Uganda. Rugunda expressed his desire that the
conflict-affected areas could now be known as Uganda's rapidly
developing areas with regained normalcy and prosperity. He assured
the LRA that the GOU was committed and that there were no spoilers
on the Government side. Rugunda admitted that he was sometimes
embarrassed by the commitment of the observers to the process.
(Note: This was a reference to the observers working with the
parties with only a few hours' sleep while some delegates slept.
End Note.) Rugunda said that progress had been made, but the end of
the process had not completely arrived. The signing of the FPA
remained outstanding. He said he was glad to hear that Kony said
that he would come for the signing because northern Ugandans were
waiting for a firm signal from Kony. He proposed that Kony appear
on radio Mega FM to give a message directly to the IDPs. He
welcomed the members of the LRA delegation to Kampala, even before
the FPA was signed.

8. (U) President Chissano thanked the parties, particularly Ugandan
President Museveni, for urging him to accept the task and Kony for
giving him the same assurances that Museveni had about his
commitment to peace. Chissano said that we had moved toward a peace
that was irreversible and that with genuine reconciliation, Uganda
could build a great country. He said that he would report to the
U.N. Secretary General, but needed the final instrument quickly.
Chissano also hoped that the successful negotiations would open a
new chapter for Sudan. He had received permission from Sudanese
President Omar al-Bashir to participate in the talks and urged
Bashir to support the agreement. Chissano also recognized the
Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) for allowing
the LRA to remain there while the dialogue proceeded.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
NO DATE FOR FINAL SIGNING CEREMONY
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9. (SBU) Machar tried in vain to obtain a date for the final
signing, but Matsanga, not missing any opportunity to grandstand,
orchestrated another dramatic walk-out. Matsanga claimed that he
agreed with the GOU to drop language in the implementing protocol in
exchange for a signing date of March 28. He claimed that the GOU
reneged on the date and called the GOU delegates "liars" and
"thieves." The GOU said that it told Matsanga the signing should
occur "no later than March 28." Matsanga argued the LRA delegation
had to travel to The Hague and that Kony needed a week to prepare
for Easter. For the GOU, this meant that the Cessation of
Hostilities Agreement would have to be extended, which it had
publicly said it would not do. In the end, the parties signed an
extension of the CHA to March 28. Machar said he would call the
parties back to Juba on March 12 to finalize the date for
signature.

- - - -
COMMENT
- - - -

10. (SBU) This round of negotiations, which began on January 30,
marked the end of the Juba phase of the peace process. After the
formal signing ceremony, the implementation of the agreement moves
to Uganda. The 30-day transition period (renewable once for another
30 days) begins with the signing ceremony. During that time, the
LRA must fully assemble and the GOU must set up the Special High
Court. Machar dismissed some of the reports of recent suspected LRA
activity in southern Sudan. Machar also remains concerned, as are
we, about Matsanga's erratic behavior and Kony's uncertain
commitment to the peace deal.

FERNANDEZ

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