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Last Updated: Friday, 12 January 2007, 11:30 GMT
Rebels snub Ugandan peace talks
Vincent Otti, second-in-command of Lord's Resistance Army
The rebels have until February 2007 to assemble in southern Sudan
Uganda's rebel Lord's Resistance Army says they will not participate in peace talks with the government that are to resume next week in southern Sudan.

Delegation leader Martin Ojul said public pronouncements by President Omar al-Bashir and his deputy Salva Kiir show they are not welcome in Sudan.

He said Kenya should host any further talks as it would be neutral ground.

The talks have been seen as the best chance to end 20 years of conflict but progress has been slow.

"In view of the statements by the two leaders and security considerations, the LRA delegation for the peace talks are not going back to Juba," Mr Ojul told reporters in Nairobi.

He said they had communicated their position to ex-Mozambican President Joaquim Chissano, the newly appointed United Nations envoy for Uganda at a meeting in Nairobi.

Mr Chissano who was appointed last month to help resolve the 20-year conflict, made his first visit to Uganda this week hoping to bring fresh impetus to the government's peace talks with rebels.

Sticking-point

Mr Ojul who was accompanied by LRA spokesman Obonyo Olweny called on Kenya President Mwai Kibaki, the current chairman of regional body Igad to convene a summit to salvage the talks in Juba.

The talks began in July 2006 and have led to a truce, extended until February.

Rebels are supposed to assemble in two areas by 28 February.

The BBC's Sarah Grainger in Uganda says after six months of talks, the talks have only reached item two on the agenda.

She says one serious sticking point has yet to be discussed - the issue of reconciliation and accountability.

LRA leader Joseph Kony and three of his top commanders are wanted on war crimes charges by the International Criminal Court and have indicated that no deal can be signed while warrants for their arrest remain in place.


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