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Ugandan President Telephones LRA's Second in Command

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni Sunday held a telephone conversation with Vincent Otti, the second in command of the rebel lord’s resistance army (LRA) . Observers believe the president’s action is part of a confidence building measure in the ongoing peace talks in juba, Sudan. Otti has reportedly complained about the presence of Ugandan forces in the assembling areas, which he says prevents LRA rebels from gathering there.

Ruhakana Rugunda is Uganda’s minister of internal affairs and leader of the government’s negotiating team at the juba peace talks. He talked about the conversation between president Museveni and LRA’S Otti.

“The president spoke to Otti as part of a confidence building measure as part of the peace and of the good measure which we have been carrying out, and as you know President Museveni has also authorized and made arrangements for Kony’s mother and close relatives to be able to go Likwamaba to meet Kony and Vincent Otti and to reassure them,” Rugunda said.

Rugunda explained what he thinks President Musevine’s gesture means for the Juba peace talks.

“I regard it as a big push for the peace process as evidence of full support by the president of the peace process. So it’s really a very significant development,” he said.

Rugunda said though he is yet to talk to President Museveni, he thinks Otti’s complaint can be handled at the peace talks.

“I’ve not had the discussion with the president to find out his responses but the fact of the matter is that if a problem has been raised, then it would be attended to, and an appropriate response made, if it had not been given yet,” Rugunda noted.

He talked about the significance of the arrangement which he said would allow Kony’s mother and close relatives to visit the rebel leader and his assistant.

“First of all, the mother has already met Kony and Kony has expressed his great pleasure that he has been able to meet his mother after twenty years and he has expressed his gratitude to government. We believe this will enhance the peace process,” he said.

Rugunda said President Museveni’s chat with Otti has given the Juba peace talks a significant boost.

“The peace process will really resume with renewed mandate, renewed optimism and I believe that it would be more expeditious than before. The government of Uganda is fully committed to the peace process in Juba and the presidents talks with Otti… is further evidence of the commitment of the president, government and indeed the people of Uganda to the pace process,” Rugunda said.

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