A top Ugandan church leader has said efforts need to be made to keep the peace process in northern Uganda on track after agreement by government forces and rebels belonging to the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) to cease hostilities.
'It now clear any doubts about the seriousness of these talks and challenges need to focus on things that keep the dialogue on track,' the Rev. Grace Kaiso, executive secretary of the Uganda Joint Christian Council, told Ecumenical News International in Nairobi.
The agreement took effect at 6-a.m. local time on August 29 and requires the rebels to assemble within three weeks at two places in Sudan called Owiny-ki-Bul and Ri-Kwangba.
The Ugandan army and the rebels have pledged not to fight each other or engage in hostile propaganda.
'We hope that the two principals will take action so that the guns can go silent,' Riek Machar, chief negotiator and vice-president of the autonomous region in southern Sudan was quoted as saying by the Daily Monitor newspaper on August 27.
Rebel leader Joseph Kony and other top LRA generals are wanted by the International Criminal Court for charges including murder, rape and forcibly enlisting children. But religious leaders have said the court should review the arrest warrants in order to promote peace negotiations.
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has said he expects a comprehensive agreement by September 12. Church leaders, however, say they remain anxious about setting a fixed date.
'I would urge them to cease making unilateral demands or setting deadlines,' said Kaiso. 'If we have accepted to sit at the table, that is the most important thing.'
Article by Fredrick Nzwili - Ecumenical News International, ENI