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Fund To Support Peace Talks For Uganda

UN Humanitarian Arm Launches Fund To Support Peace Talks For Uganda

New York, Oct 6 2006 7:00PM

As senior United Nations officials say the situation in once war-torn northern Uganda is more promising than it has been in years, the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) today launched a $4.8 million proposal to help sponsor peace talks and monitor the cessation of hostilities.

The Juba Initiative Fund, launched today at UN Headquarters in New York, is focused on supporting the peace talks taking place between the Ugandan Government and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in the southern Sudanese town of Juba.

Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Jan Egeland, who visited Uganda and southern Sudan last month, said the current peace process represents “the best and most serious opportunity” to end the conflict that has raged in northern Uganda since 1986.

“It brings great hope for safe return and for the rebuilding of Acholi and Ugandan society,” he said.

Since peace talks began earlier this year, the security has drastically improved and the number of night commuters – civilians, mostly children, who leave their homes after dusk to avoid being abducted by the LRA – has slumped from 40,000 to 10,000.

Uganda and the LRA signed a cessation of hostilities agreement on 26 August and talks have been continuing on striking a comprehensive peace deal.

But the UN has said it has received reports that commanders and fighters from the LRA – whose most senior members face International Criminal Court (ICC) indictments for war crimes – have left three camps where they were supposed to assemble because of concerns that Ugandan military forces were nearby.

“A conflict that has dragged on for 20 years may not be resolved according to the clock,” Mr. Egeland said. “Both sides need to show patience to ensure a successful conclusion to the peace process.”

Ends

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