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Ban Ki-moon welcomes ‘breakthrough’ Ugandan agreement with northern rebels

Ban Ki-moon welcomes ‘breakthrough’ Ugandan agreement with northern rebels

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today welcomed the signing of an agreement by the Ugandan Government and the rebel Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) to set up accountability and reconciliation measures to help end the conflict that has ravaged the north of the country for two decades.

“The challenge ahead will be to ensure the credible implementation of this agreement,” Mr. Ban said in a statement issued by his spokesperson after yesterday’s signing in Juba, southern Sudan, of the Annexure to the Agreement on Accountability and Reconciliation.

“The Secretary-General is encouraged by the commitment of the parties to the talks and urges them to renew their efforts to expeditiously conclude a comprehensive peace agreement in order to bring lasting peace with justice to the people of northern Uganda,” the statement added.

Government forces and the LRA have fought since the mid-1980s and the rebel group has become notorious for its use and abuse of children, either as soldiers, porters or in other roles, during the long-running conflict. Captured children were often subject to extreme violence soon after being abducted by the LRA, with many girls allocated to officers in a form of institutional rape.

But the two sides signed a ceasefire in 2006 and talks have been taking place in recent months to try to reach a permanent settlement ending the civil conflict.

Today’s statement thanked “all international and regional actors who have been assisting the peace process,” especially the Vice-President of the Government of Southern Sudan and Chief Mediator, Riek Machar Dhurgon Teny, and Mr. Ban’s Special Envoy on the issue, former Mozambican president Joaquim Chissano, “for the important role they have played in facilitating this breakthrough.”