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Ugandan Rebel Leaders Will Not Attend Peace Talks

Leaders of the Ugandan rebel Lord's Resistance Army have refused to attend peace talks with Ugandan government officials, slated to start this week in Juba, southern Sudan.

The talks were to begin Wednesday, but were delayed while mediator Riek Machar, vice president of southern Sudan's regional government, traveled to Sudan's southern border to meet with LRA leaders who are in hiding in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Machar met with the LRA's deputy leader Vincent Otti, who said the group's leader, Joseph Kony, would sign an agreement if one was reached.

But he said he and Kony would not travel to Juba for the talks, due to security concerns.

The International Criminal Court has issued arrest warrants for the rebel leaders, who face charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Uganda's security minister Amama Mbabazi has asked the court to support the government's offer of amnesty for the rebel leaders if the peace talks go well.

The LRA is accused of kidnapping, mutilating and killing thousands of civilians during its 20-year war against the Ugandan government.

Kony's deputy Vincent Otti told French radio last week that Kony has accepted the amnesty offer.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.