Representatives of the Ugandan government are returning home after rebel leader Joseph Kony again failed to sign a peace agreement that could have ended more than 20 years of fighting.

Uganda's Internal Affairs Minister Ruhakana Rugunda Friday said the government delegation is leaving the Sudanese-Congo border town that was to be the site of the historic deal, and will await further instructions.

The chief mediator in the talks, South Sudanese Vice President Riek Machar, said Kony left the talks because he wanted clarification on how Uganda's government will handle international war crimes charges against him and other rebel leaders.

Earlier the top negotiator for Uganda's Lord Resistance Army rebels quit his position because of Kony's failure to sign the agreement. Negotiator David Matsanga tells VOA he was disappointed Kony did not show up at the signing ceremony.

The LRA is notorious for raping and mutilating civilians, and for recruiting child soldiers.

Kony and three of his deputies are wanted by the International Criminal Court to face trial for the LRA's atrocities.

Uganda has said it will urge the ICC to drop the charges once the LRA signs a final peace deal. Kampala says the rebels would instead face a Ugandan justice system.

Kony has delayed signing the peace deal in the past because of fears he will be arrested. The LRA leader is usually camped at hideouts in Congo or the Central African Republic.


Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.