(Washington, D.C.) December 13, 2007: In parallel with a quick conclusion to the Juba peace talks, a robust round of shuttle diplomacy is needed to broker a deal with Lord’s Resistance Army rebel leader Joseph Kony, according to an ENOUGH briefing released today.
Authored by ENOUGH co-chair John Prendergast and Uganda analyst Adam O’Brien, the report explains an agreement with Kony would seek to find an acceptable set of security and livelihood arrangements for the LRA leadership – particularly those indicted by the International Criminal Court – and its rank and file.
“Both in terms of process and substance, now is the time to place Kony center stage,” says O’Brien. ”A deal is there for the taking, but a more formalized and regular channel needs to be opened between Kony and Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni.”
While a diplomatic surge should focus on Kony, the report calls on international donors to provide assistance to the disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration of former LRA soldiers, in part to encourage more defections from a rebel group that has suffered from increasing dissension, disarray and death in recent months.
To keep the peace process focused and moving forward, ENOUGH outlines three additional necessary steps for the Juba negotiators, the U.N. Special Envoy, and the United States to take:
- Discipline the Juba process: Donors and mediators must provide thorough oversight, reasonably tight time frames, and clear financial constraints to prevent peace talks from enabling the LRA to stall and rebuild;
- Develop leverage by devising a fallback military strategy: Both a clear carrot and a strong stick are necessary to bring Kony out of the bush, the stick being a credible backup plan to apprehend the LRA leadership should talks fall apart; and
- Prepare for a follow-up process in northern Uganda to address long-term issues of resettlement, redevelopment, and reconciliation: An inclusive, community-led forum on compensation and truth and reconciliation processes within northern Uganda – not Juba – is critical to building sustainable peace in the country.
U.S. engagement, the report emphasizes, is a necessary but largely neglected key to success. Although more visible and concerted in recent months, ENOUGH says the U.S. can and should be doing much more.
“Northern Uganda hovers tentatively between peace and conflict,” says Prendergast. “With its unutilized leverage, the United States could play the key role in securing a lasting resolution to northern Uganda’s twenty year nightmare.”
To read “A Diplomatic Surge for Northern Uganda,” go to www.enoughproject.org.