Sunday, August 13, 2006

Setback at LRA talks

The peace talks between the Lord Resistance Army and the Uganda government in Juba to try to bring a settle has hit another setback. The Uganda Defence Force today kills senior rebel commander Raska Lukwiya, the third man in the LRA high command. This can be seen as an act of provocation. It also shows that the Ugandan government is not serious about peace.

The fragile peace talks has started on a difficult footing in the first place. The declaration of cease fire by the rebels last week was welcomed, but the Uganda government was yet to declare the same. A cease fire will have given the talks some firmness. It can also give the discussion "a good faith" atmosphere.

A similar event occured during the long Sudanese peace talks in Nairobi. When the SPLA captured Torit in 2003, the GOSS withdraw from the talks and Omar Bashir said the protocols that have been signed "the SPLA should soak in water and drink". It disrupted the talks. But when the SAF took back the town with massive Arab support, they were pressured to go back to the table and later reached a deal.

Uganda should negotiate in good faith. Attacking rebels and not declaring a cease fire raises a lot of doubts about their seriousness in the discussions. The LRA should exert utmost restrain by not retalliating to this agression.