Ugandan Parliament Insists On Juba As Venue For LRA Talks

945 Views Kampala, Uganda
Parliament has this afternoon voted overwhelmingly in support of a motion seeking to retain Juba as the venue for peace talks with the LRA. The talks, which have been held in Juba, southern Sudan, stalled in January after the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) delegation refused to return to Sudan because of Sudan's threat to eject the LRA's forces from Sudan. They suggested Kenya and South Africa as alternative venues. But the Head of Uganda's delegation to the Juba Talks, Ruhakana Rugunda said Government would not bend to that demand. He said the change of venue was not justifiable and also rejected the demand for change of the mediation team. Following the expiry of the fragile truce which has been in place for the past six months, parliament moved in quickly in to state its stand on the prevailing situation. The issue of whether or not to include the venue in the parliamentary resolution sharply divided the opposition and ruling movement MPs. Opposition MPs argued that the venue is one of the contentious issues that the two sides will discuss with their mediator, South Sudan Vice President, Riek Machar. Sensing a sharper disagreement, the Speaker, Edward Ssekandi, put the question to a vote which was won by the NRM MPs. 87 MP's voted to include Juba as the venue in their resolution, while 40 of the opposition MPs boycotted the voting. Rugunda insists that government is still committed to the peace talks and is waiting for an invitation by Riek Machar to return to the negotiating table.