Cablegate: Northern Uganda: Lra Delegation Meeting Date Slips

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E.O. 12958: N/A

1. (SBU) Summary: UN Special Envoy Joachim Chissano remains
optimistic, despite the uncertainties, that Lord's Resistance Army
(LRA) leader Joseph Kony will show up for a meeting with his own LRA
delegation on August 24. Chissano requested a date change from
August 20/21 so that he could attend. He said that Kony's direct
communication with Chissano and the Government of Southern Sudan
mediator Riek Machar was a positive sign, even though Kony has not
committed to attending the meeting. Chissano rebuffed some of the
LRA demands for the meeting, which included food for 1,000-2,000
combatants and a change of venue. He arranged for the presence of
experts on legal issues and Disarmament, Demobilization, and
Reintegration (DDR). In Gulu, local government officials,
traditional and religious leaders, and internally displaced persons
(IDPs) oppose Dr. David Matsanga as the LRA's lead negotiator, but
Chissano said he had to work with whomever Kony appointed. End

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2. (SBU) On August 18, UN Special Envoy for LRA-Affected Areas
Joachim Chissano briefed Kampala-based diplomats about the prospects
for LRA leader Joseph Kony's meeting with the LRA delegation to
discuss the Final Peace Agreement (FPA). (Note: In June, Kony said
he needed to meet with the LRA delegation to discuss the details of
the FPA after he failed to show up twice for meetings with the
mediator and northern Ugandan officials in April and May. Plans for
Kony to meet with his delegation to discuss the agreement gained
momentum in July. End Note.) During his visit to the region,
Chissano traveled to Kampala, Gulu, and Nairobi. A conflict in
Chissano's schedule prompted the latest change in the date for the
LRA delegation meeting, which has been moved to August 24 from
August 20/21. Kony told Chissano that he did not want a large
meeting, but asked that Chissano, Machar, and the five African
observers, attend. Chissano told Kony that he needed to call Machar
to rebuild confidence in the process and to make the necessary
logistics arrangements. Kony-Machar contact was re-established
after Matsanga and Chissano visited Machar in Juba in July. Kony
rejected the food Machar sent on July 17 for fear it was poisoned.

3. (SBU) Kony's direct contact with Chissano's office and Machar
was encouraging, according to Chissano. Kony called Chissano during
LRA lead negotiator David Matsanga's visit to Maputo in June. Kony
confirmed that Matsanga was his delegation leader and told Chissano
that he wanted to "finish everything" after he clarified certain
issues. Kony initially wanted a venue outside Sudan. Chissano
argued that the meeting could not take place outside southern Sudan
because other countries had signed the Rome Statute and would be
obligated to arrest Kony and turn him over to the International
Criminal Court (ICC).

4. (SBU) Kony reportedly expressed concern about the future for his
soldiers under the FPA. Chissano advised him that the peace
agreement was the opportunity to discuss disarmament and
demobilization with the Government of Uganda (GOU). Chissano told
Kony that if he does not sign, he would have no credibility at all.
He assured Kony that it was not dangerous for him to go to Riwangba
to meet with his delegation, particularly after the U.S., European
Union, Canada, and Norway had participated in negotiating the FPA.
(Note: Kony is wary of meetings in which he does not control the
time or venue because he allegedly believes he will be vulnerable to
attack from unknown hit squads. End Note.) Chissano also told Kony
that he and the other three ICC indictees would face trial in Uganda
and that the legal aspects of the agreement "were no joke." Kony
asked that the Government get the warrants lifted before the
meeting. Chissano said that the GOU could not do that because UNSC
members have insisted upon a signature before considering a
suspension of the ICC warrants. (Note: Lifting and suspending the
warrants are two different things. The FPA draft requires the GOU
to request a one-year (renewable for a second year) suspension of
the warrants from the UN Security Council (UNSC) while the
mechanisms for a national trial are put in place. End Note.)

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5. (SBU) During an August 17 meeting with Chissano in Nairobi,
Matsanga listed Kony's conditions for the meeting. First, Kony
insisted that food for 1,000-2,000 people be delivered prior to the
meeting. According to Chissano, Matsanga claimed Kony was coming
with a large number of combatants, but was not clear on why and how
many would accompany the LRA Chairman. Chissano warned Matsanga
that Kony did not need to bring a large number of combatants in
order to sign the agreement and that a request for that amount of
food would raise questions about the LRA's true intentions.

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Matsanga told Chissano that the large amount of food was needed
because the combatants would remain in the assembly area after the
signing. Chissano countered that the LRA was not obliged to
assemble immediately and that the donors would provide assistance
later for the LRA assembly. Chissano said that there would be a
period of time needed for the GOU to approach the UNSC.

6. (SBU) Chissano also said that he advised Matsanga that a request
for a large amount of food was a "poor tactic" because it sent the
signal that the LRA was using the process to re-supply. He advised
that Kony needed to accept what donors were offering. Donor food
was set to arrive in Nabanga for onward delivery to Rikwangba on
August 19/20. Now that the date of the meeting had slipped, donors
are trying to delay the arrival of the food until the day of the
meeting on August 24. Canadian Consul told P/E Chief that donors
contributed food for 60 fighters for four days only.

7. (SBU) According to Chissano, Matsanga's second issue was that
Kony and his senior commanders did not understand the DDR process,
including what would be offered, and how it would be implemented.
Chissano suggested to Machar that he bring a DDR expert to the
meeting. Machar agreed. (Comment: Senior LRA commanders have
expressed confusion over the difference between DDR and the amnesty
processes to post contacts. End Comment.)

8. (SBU) Third, Matsanga said that Kony wanted clarification about
how the Special Division of the High Court related to the ICC and
traditional cleansing ceremonies, such as "mato oput." Chissano
arranged for Machar to bring Barney Afako, the agreement's drafter
and an expert on all three mechanisms, to Kony's meeting with his

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9. (SBU) In Gulu, Chissano heard unanimous opposition to Matsanga
from local, traditional, and religious leaders. Matsanga hails from
eastern Uganda, not Acholiland. In addition, Matsanga's Ugandan
Government ties also raised concerns in the north. Despite this
local opposition, Chissano said that Kony had selected Matsanga, so
the facilitator and mediator had to work with him. Gulu District
Chairman Norbert Mao told P/E Chief on August 18 that Chissano's
radio appearance on Mega FM and visit to a camp for internally
displaced persons were reassuring for the local population. Their
concerns centered around the need for water, education, health
services, hand tools, and seeds in the return areas. Chissano heard
that it was important for the Acholi religious leaders to be
involved in the process. After the visit, Matsanga told Chissano
that Kony asked that Bishops Onono, Ochola, and Odama and possibly a
few other local officials be invited to Rikwangba.

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10. (SBU) Kony has not directly confirmed his intention to attend
the August 24 meeting, but Chissano remains optimistic that Kony
will show up because the LRA leader had requested it and remained in
contact with his office. Nonetheless, Chissano would not be
surprised if Kony did not show up. Alternatively, if he showed up,
he may set another date for signing the FPA and establish new
conditions to be met. Chissano remains concerned, as do we, that
the composition of Kony's delegation remains in flux and questions
about Matsanga's legitimacy linger.

© Scoop Media

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