Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni has met delegates of the rebel lord’s resistance army (LRA) and the mediator in juba southern Sudan. The weekend meeting was aimed at salvaging ongoing peace talks, which have been faltering. Ugandan sources say Museveni’s visit came at a time when the rebels are accused of launching a new wave of attacks on the Ugandan army and civilians near juba.
Kirunda Kivajinja is Uganda’s minister of information. He talks with VOA English to Africa reporter Peter Clottey confirming Museveni’s meeting in Juba, Southern Sudan.
“It’s true he went to Juba, and he came back the same day. And his main mission was to go and talk more with the mediator instead of talking on the telephone and also have a chance to pass his message to the representatives of the rebels on the negotiating table,” he said.
Kivajinja says in negotiations, one party has to be willing to sacrifice to make peace attainable.
“In such negotiations involving two sides, it’s always better for one side to be clear. And when he was there, as the supreme person on the government side, then at least his position cannot be doubted, and the position put forward by the Ugandan delegation would not be doubted,” he noted.
On the issue of Museveni’s complaint about the lack of support by the Democratic Republic of Congo of Uganda’s peace efforts, Kivajinja said, “The question is that, when these people (LRA) could no longer operate in Southern Sudan, they run to Garamba in Congo where the UN and the Congo government are supposed to be exercising some sovereignty. But they couldn’t be able to act. So automatically they are still operating from there, and they seem to be as impotent as they were before.
He says its time for the international criminal court to leave the issue of indictment to the Ugandan government since the peace talks seem to be going well.
“If they (LRA) would strike a peace deal, then the rest of bringing Kony and his co-terrorist to justice should be left for us. Because you appeal to the international criminal court when you are not in a position to handle that case and definitely it was beyond our reach. But now as it comes back to our reach, that one we can settle that instead of going to Geneva, we can as well handle him here,” Kivajinja said.
He says the rebels should not be asking for things the government does not have power to control.
“The question is don’t ask for things which are not within our right. We are a sovereign Uganda state we don’t exercise jurisdiction over the international criminal court and therefore we cannot be their broker,” he noted.
Kivajinja continues, “We are in touch with them (international criminal court) and we told them that, we asked for you when the situation was completely out of our hands. But now if these people decide to come to our hands, then that assistance… we may not call it up.”
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