Search

 

Cablegate: Uganda-Lra Mediation Initiative Opens

VZCZCXRO9934
OO RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #1675/01 1971119
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 161119Z JUL 06
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3717
INFO RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RUEHTC/AMEMBASSY THE HAGUE 0025
RUEHKI/AMEMBASSY KINSHASA 0041
RUEHSW/AMEMBASSY BERN 0001
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS 0025

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 001675

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

BRUSSELS FOR FRAZER AND HUME

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PHUM PGOV PTER UG SU
SUBJECT: UGANDA-LRA MEDIATION INITIATIVE OPENS


1. (SBU) Summary: Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS) President
Salva Kiir hosted the formal July 14 opening of the GoSS mediation
initiative between the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) and the
Government of Uganda (GOU). The head of the Ugandan delegation
delivered brief, conciliatory remarks that pledged a good faith
effort from the Ugandan side. The spokesman for the LRA responded
with what can only be described as a belligerent political speech.
Closed-door sessions were slated to begin on July 15, but the tenor
of the LRA remarks reportedly so upset the GOU delegation that they
have balked at meeting further with their LRA counterparts. End
summary.

-----------------------
Kiir Gives his Blessing
-----------------------

2. (SBU) The formal opening of talks between the LRA and GOU kicked
off two and one-half hours late in a caucus room of the Southern
Sudan Legislative Assembly packed with press, the Council of
Ministers, heads of the religious community, select diplomats, and a
number of senior members of civil society. After the opening
invocations, Salva Kiir addressed the gathering, reiterating the
GoSS desire that the Ugandans forgive and forget and seek a peaceful
solution to their differences along the lines of the agreement
forged between the North and South of Sudan. He called on the
African Union, IGAD, and the international community to provide
support, especially in financial terms. Kiir noted the ICC
indictment of five senior LRA leaders and said that he was aware
that some parties disapproved of the GoSS initiative; nonetheless,
the GoSS was resolved to mediate. Kiir said he had named a
ministerial committee headed by Vice President Machar to handle the
mediation process. Kiir called on the media to work for peace and
sacrifice journalistic scoops in favor of a positive outcome, which
elicited titters.

-----------------------
Offering the Olive Leaf
-----------------------

3. (SBU) GOU Minister of Interior Ruhakana Rugunda spoke next,
delivering off the cuff remarks from a page of handwritten notes.
He said that the GOU had given its unqualified support for the GoSS
effort and thanked Kiir for taking the initiative. Rugunda said
that the GOU was sincere and serious in its desire to negotiate a
just settlement in spite of media reports to the contrary. He said
the GOU's declaration of amnesty for LRA members who would opt for
peace demonstrated Uganda's commitment.

--------------------------
The LRA: In Your Face, Pal
--------------------------

4. (SBU) LRA delegation leader Martin Ojul announced that LRA
Spokesman Obonyo Olweny would deliver the LRA's opening statement.
After praising the GoSS and thanking the Southern Sudanese for
offering the hospitality of "their beautiful capital city," Olweny
launched into a lengthy political speech blasting the Kampala
regime. He described Uganda as suffering from disunity, lack of
democracy, political imbalance, and elitist greed. He criticized
the "hallmark of political greed and personal ambition" and said the
GOU had sought to scapegoat those who objected to GOU misrule. He
predicted that the Great Lakes region was headed for a catastrophe
if the political equation in Uganda was not addressed.

5. (SBU) Olweny declared that the LRA was negotiating from a
position of strength rather than weakness, and that the GOU would be
in for a shock if it thought that it could resolve the issue with
military force. He cited the three options facing Kampala. First,
there was the dead-end option of military force; secondly, there was
the attempt to indict LRA leaders. He said that they could not be
apprehended and accused the UN of being unfair and pre-judging the
guilt of the LRA leadership. He accused the UN of ignoring the
depredations of the UPDF against the Ugandan population and
concluded that the third option was negotiation. The ceremony ended
with an awkward handshake between Kiir and the heads of delegation.

-----------
Conclusions
-----------

6. (SBU) The mediation effort is off to a poor start. While the
GoSS attempted to dignify the LRA by rechristening them the "Lord's
Resistance Movement/Lord's Resistance Army," the semantics did not
disguise the fact that there is little love lost between the two
Ugandan parties. The GOU delegation was reportedly so incensed by

KHARTOUM 00001675 002 OF 002


the LRA harangue that they refused to attend the closed door session
scheduled for July 15. This was not a propitious beginning.

STEINFELD

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

OECD: COVID-19 Crisis Puts Migration And Progress On Integration At Risk, Says

Watch the live webcast of the press conference Migration flows have increased over the past decade and some progress has been made to improve the integration of immigrants in the host countries. But some of these gains may be erased by the COVID-19 pandemic ... More>>


Pacific Media Watch: How Pacific Environmental Defenders Are Coping With The Covid Pandemic

SPECIAL REPORT: By Sri Krishnamurthi of Pacific Media Watch Pacific Climate Warriors - creative action to trigger better responses to climate crisis. Image: ... More>>

Reporters Without Borders: Julian Assange’s Extradition Hearing Marred By Barriers To Open Justice

After monitoring four weeks of evidence in the US extradition proceedings against Wikileaks publisher Julian Assange, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) reiterates concern regarding the targeting of Assange for his contributions to journalism, and calls ... More>>

OHCHR: Stranded Migrants Need Safe And Dignified Return – UN Migrant Workers Committee

The UN Committee on Migrant Workers has today called on governments to take immediate action to address the inhumane conditions of migrant workers who are stranded in detention camps and ensure they can have an orderly, safe and dignified return to ... More>>