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Uganda to Pardon Rebel Chief Kony if Peace Talks Succeed

Uganda's president has pledged "total amnesty" for rebel chief Joseph Kony if peace talks between the rebels and Uganda's government go well.

In a statement Tuesday, President Yoweri Museveni said he would pardon the head of the rebel Lord's Resistance Army, despite international charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

He said to receive the pardon, Kony would have to abandon terrorism and "respond positively" to peace talks set to begin next week.

There was no immediate reaction from the International Criminal Court, which has issued arrest warrants for Kony and four of his top commanders.

The LRA leaders face accusations of kidnapping, killing, and mutilating thousands of civilians in northern Uganda. Kony has denied the charges.

Museveni's pledge comes one day after the government agreed to peace talks with the rebel army. The southern Sudanese government will mediate the talks, aimed at ending the rebels' 20-year war against Uganda's government.

The war has killed tens of thousands of people and displaced almost two million others from their homes.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP .