12 September 2006

Emergency Relief Coordinator in Juba to Meet with Participants in Peace Talks

JUBA AND NEW YORK, 11 September (OCHA) -- United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Jan Egeland arrived in Juba, Sudan, today where he has met with the major parties involved in the ongoing peace negotiations between the Government of Uganda and the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA).

Emphasizing that impunity was unacceptable and that justice in some form must be done, Mr. Egeland acknowledged the important role to be played by traditional Acholi mechanisms, in ensuring those who are allegedly responsible for serious crimes face justice.  "Those who have been indicted should face justice.  But, what is more important now is that we should concentrate on ending the war," Egeland said.

In Juba, Mr. Egeland met with Salva Kiir, President of south Sudan and First Vice-President of the Government of Sudan, and Riek Machar, Vice-President of south Sudan and Chief Mediator at the Juba talks, as well as with the delegations from the Government of Uganda and the LRA, including Vincent Otti, the second highest LRA official.  He also met with a group of Acholi religious advisors and a local Government elected official from northern Uganda, Chairman Mao.  Throughout these meetings, Mr. Egeland emphasized that he appreciated the efforts of the Government of south Sudan and of the parties to find a solution to the conflict, and urged them to work harder to this end.

Mr. Egeland also met with the United Nations country team in south Sudan, non-governmental organisations and donours.

Over the weekend, Mr. Egeland visited Uganda, including the Opit internally displaced persons camp in Gulu district of northern Uganda.  Arriving in the Ugandan capital of Kampala yesterday evening, he met with the Inter-Agency Standing Committee country team, as well as with donour country representatives, to whom he underscored that, while the 2006 consolidated appeal for Uganda had received a reasonable response; major gaps continued in some sectors, including mine action.

Before leaving Uganda this morning, the Emergency Relief Coordinator met with the Ugandan Prime Minister, with whom he exchanged views on a number of issues, including the Joint Monitoring Commission established in follow-up to his last mission to Uganda in April 2006, as well as the situation in the north of the country, in regard of which Mr. Egeland raised some of the issues brought to him by the internally displaced persons communities he encountered in Gulu.

For further information, please call:  Stephanie Bunker, OCHA-New York, +1 917 367 5126, mobile +1 917 892 1679; Kristen Knutson, OCHA-New York, +1 917 367 9262; Elisabeth Byrs, OCHA-Geneva, +41 22 917 2653, mobile, +41 79 473 4570.  OCHA press releases are available at http://ochaonline.un.org  or www.reliefweb.int .

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