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Last Updated: Tuesday, 23 November, 2004, 15:12 GMT
Ugandan army ceasefire expires
By Will Ross
BBC, Kampala

Efforts to end the 18-year war in northern Uganda through dialogue are continuing despite the fact that a seven-day limited ceasefire ordered by the Ugandan president has expired.

Child in Gulu
Thousands of children have been abducted by the LRA
The government has not yet indicated whether it will extend the truce in a limited but large area of northern Uganda.

The army spokesman says the military will still hold fire within the ceasefire zone awaiting instruction from commander in chief President Yoweri Museveni.

The Lords Resistance Army rebels have indicated they want to hold peace talks with the government.

There is hope that the current peace effort could end the conflict in which over 20,000 children have been abducted and 1.5 million people displaced from their homes.

A former government minister, Betty Bigombe, is currently trying to mediate between the LRA and the government.

She recently held a face to face meeting with a senior LRA commander - giving some hope that dialogue between the two sides can be achieved.

The Ugandan president has called on the LRA to make a strong commitment to stop fighting.

A definitive response from the rebels has not yet been given.

Those calling for peace talks are keen for the government to extend the ceasefire period to allow the peace effort to continue. Previous attempts to hold peace talks have broken down largely due to a lack of trust between the two sides.

The conflict has had a devastating impact on northern Uganda - with massive loss of life, abduction and displacement.

It may be fragile but the peace effort is continuing.

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