Cablegate: Lra Talks: Ceasefire Progresses, Egeland Asks for Help

DE RUEHKH #2228 2571429
P 141429Z SEP 06




E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: LRA Talks: Ceasefire Progresses, Egeland Asks for Help

REF: Khartoum 2224

1. As the ceasefire between the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) and
the Ugandan government increasingly takes hold, UN Under Secretary
General (UN/USG) for Humanitarian Affairs Jan Egeland visited Juba
to meet with the parties to the talks and assess ways that the UN
could further support the peace process. Egeland also strongly
encouraged donor nations to do more. Emphasizing that the
negotiations should remain an African process with African
solutions, the best way to lend support would be to assist with the
USD 5.9 million that will be needed to maintain the talks, fully
implement the Cessation of Hostilities agreement, and provide
humanitarian support to vulnerables. Norway has already agreed to
give USD 250,000. Egeland then emphasized that there is no conflict
between supporting the ICC and supporting the peace process, and
that countries must only refrain from endorsing impunity, not peace.
(NOTE: Several members of the mediation team have also indicated a
desire for U.S. involvement in the talks. End Note.)

2. During his visit, Egeland was in frequent phone contact with LRA
commander Vincent Otti, who had arrived at the Western Equatoria
rally point of Ri-Kwangba. The UN/USG had hoped to secure an
agreement from the LRA to release the women and children so they can
receive humanitarian assistance from the UN, as the UN will not
provide direct assistance to anyone still part of an armed group.
After initial indications that the LRA would release the
vulnerables, they finally refused. Egeland believes Joseph Kony
intervened directly to prevent this release. At the Eastern
Equatoria rally point, Owiny-ki-Bul, LRA mediation team
representatives indicated they would allow women and children to be
separated from the main group, but would not allow them to be
completely released. There may also be other special arrangements
for the sick and wounded.

3. As more people move towards the camps, with nearly 400 LRA
soldiers about to enter Owiny-ki-Bul and more on their way, Egeland
believes the numbers will be significantly higher than expected.
According to MONUC, the groups of LRA fighters are larger, more
professional, and better armed (with platoon-level machine guns and
mortars) than originally thought. The UN/USG thinks there may be 4
to 6 thousand people in the camps by the end of next week.


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