After adjourning earlier this week, Ugandan peace talks are set to resume next week in the southern Sudanese city of Juba. The talks between the government and Lord?s Resistance Army rebels seek to have an agreement by September 12th ? a deadline set by President Yoweri Museveni.
One of the groups that will send a delegation to Juba to observe the talks is the Great Lakes Parliamentary Forum On Peace, otherwise known as the Amani Forum. Betty Amongi, a member of Parliament, is chairperson of the Uganda chapter of the Amani Forum. From Kampala, she spoke to VOA English to Africa Service reporter Joe De Capua about why the group is getting involved.
?We want to reassure the leadership of the Lord?s Resistance Army that as members of Parliament we shall support the government of Uganda in repealing the legislation that restricts amnesty to the LRA and the top indicted leaders of the Lord?s Resistance Army. The issue also is to reassure them that we shall support the government in making sure that the ICC (International Criminal Court) indictments are dealt with at the parliamentary level; and that as Parliament we shall support the peace process and ask the ICC not to pursue a trial of the LRA for the purpose of achieving peace in Uganda.?
Asked whether this is the best chance for peace Uganda has had, Amongi says, ?We believe that for the last 20 years both the rebels and the government have failed to achieve their objectives through military means. We also recognize that there have been attempts that have taken place before without foreign involvement.?
And she says that Sudan played a key role in convincing the LRA to seek peace after years of harboring the rebels. ?So with the involvement of Sudan we believe strongly that the war can now come to an end if both sides give realistic demands and adopt a comprehensive peace agreement.?
The Amani Forum chairperson says she would support a truth and reconciliation commission for Uganda, adding it would take about 10 years to rebuild and heal once peace is achieved.