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Uganda Government Weighs Options as Ultimatum Expires

Uganda’s government says it is reviewing its position on the ultimatum it gave to the rebel Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) ahead of peace negations in the Southern Sudanese capital, Juba. This comes after the rebels pleaded with President Yoweri Museveni on Monday not to attack their positions. The rebels say the government gave them until the end of the month to sign a ceasefire or face military action. Peace negotiations are expected to begin Wednesday after they were adjourned for both sides to have separate consultations on accountability and reconciliation issues, which are the third item on the peace talks agenda.

From the capital, Kampala, the leader of the Uganda government’s negotiating team, Ruhakana Rugunda, tells reporter Peter Clottey that the government is weighing its options.

“We are reviewing this matter and the talks are resuming on Wednesday the 30th. So the question of the cessation of hostilities agreement and its duration is going to be reviewed, and a new date would be agreed upon,” Rugunda pointed out.

He said he expects a new position to be adopted during peace negotiations with the rebels, which begin on Wednesday.

“Yes, there is going to be a review of a cessation of hostilities agreement and its addenda, and we will agree on a new position,” he said.

Rugunda said although the government is unhappy about the demise of former rebel second in command Vincent Otti, his death will not hinder the progress of the peace talks, as had been speculated.

“Vincent Otti will in our view not adversely and significantly affect the peace process. Of course we deeply regret the death of any individual and we think that the death of Otti was unfortunate. As you know he was playing a positive and active role in the peace process and also we value life dearly. So we regret the death, but the peace process will continue,” Rugunda noted.

He said further discussion would be held on the methodology of implementing some of the already agreed upon items on the agenda.

“We are just going to quickly discuss the implementation of modalities of the principles of accountability and reconciliation and then we would go to the remaining two agenda items, which is ceasefire as number four on the agenda item. And also the final item, which is disarmament demobilization and reintegration,” he said.