Uganda President Yoweri Museveni has reportedly said he is willing to talk with Lord?s Resistance Army (LRA) rebel leader Joseph Kony by phone.
LRA chief peace negotiator David Matsanga said President Museveni made the offer this week after meeting in Kampala with South Sudan Vice President Riek Machar and chief mediator of the Juba peace talks and an LRA delegation.
Matsanga told VOA President Museveni also agreed not to take Kony to the International Criminal Court once Kony has signed the final peace agreement.
?General Joseph Kony instructed us as a delegation to find out as a way of resolving the ICC (International Criminal Court) matters that included us to go to Kampala to meet with President Museveni directly, which we did. And that included going to Congo to meet with President Joseph Kabila to tell him to avoid any military attacks against the LRA as we were resolving the issue of the ICC with the government of the Republic of Uganda,? he said.
Matsanga denied that President Museveni has conditioned his alleged pledge to seek the removal of ICC Indictments against Kony on Kony signing the final peace agreement.
?It is not conditional at all. That is a misinterpretation. It is very clear that President Museveni, in our three-hour meeting in Kampala agreed because I put out demands which General Kony told me to put A, B, C, D, six points which President Museveni answered back one by one,? Matsanga said.
He said the LRA delegation delivered a six-point demand from Kony to President Museveni on the way forward in the peace process.
?One was ICC, two was the propaganda against General Kony, three was the inclusion in government by the LRA leadership, four was the support that they had to give to the mediation, five was the question of DDR (Disarmament, Demobilization, Reintegration) and the packages which are supposed to be told to the LRA combatants, and the six was the general welfare of General Joseph Kony,? he said.
Matsanga said President Museveni agreed unconditionally to have a telephone conversation with Kony on the way forward in the peace process.
He said Kony will return to Ugandan to face the face the local reconciliation process known as mato put which requires an apology from the offender.
Matsanga said Kony will sign the final peace agreement once they have concluded the confidence building process and President Museveni and Kony have talked by phone.
He said he saw nothing wrong with the Ugandan government offering to provide food to Kony and his fighters.
?We?ve got a concession, a very good concession. The government of Uganda has now said it will provide food because General Kony and all the combatants are all Ugandans as long as they are in assembly area in Ri-kwangba, which is gazetted by the agreement. You have got to know that Kony is a Ugandan. He has not told you that he?s from America. He is a Ugandan. Therefore if he is to receive food it is part of the taxpayer?s money. And what President Museveni said is that he will pay and give the same donors the money so that they can buy food quickly,? Matsanga said.