|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
UNITED NATIONS LAUNCHES JUBA INITIATIVE FUND TO AID PEACE IN NORTHERN UGANDA
NEW YORK, 5 October (OCHA) -- The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), on 6 October, will launch the $4.8 million proposal for the Juba Initiative Fund. This Fund, along with financing from the Governments of South Sudan and Uganda, will facilitate the basic necessities of the Juba peace talks and support the start-up of the Cessation of Hostilities Monitoring Team. United Nations bodies, including OCHA and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), have staff members providing technical support to the mediation team.
The initiative comes at a critical time in the peace talks between the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and the Government of Uganda being held in Juba, the Sudan. Despite reports of heightened tensions, no fighting has taken place in southern Sudan, and the situation is calm, according to the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA). The LRA delegation remains at the table in Juba. However, SPLA reports that LRA has left the three camps in the Owiny-ki-Bul assembly area and dispersed into smaller groups, and are now some 20 miles away. They have done so out of concern about the deployment of the Ugandan Popular Defence Force in the vicinity. The Cessation of Hostilities Monitoring Team will return to Juba today with a full report verifying the situation in Owiny-ki-Bul.
“The ongoing peace process is the best and most serious opportunity we have had to end the conflict in northern Uganda,” said United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Jan Egeland today. “It brings great hope for safe return and for the rebuilding of Acholi and Ugandan society,” he added.
The picture in northern Uganda is more promising than it has been in years. Since the negotiations between the Government and LRA began in Juba earlier this year, security has increased dramatically, and the number of night commuters has fallen to 10,000, from a high of 40,000 last year.
Riek Machar, the Vice-President of the Government of South Sudan, has been facilitating talks between the Government of Uganda and LRA. On 26 August, the Government and LRA signed the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement. Mr. Egeland visited Juba on 11 September to address the humanitarian aspects of a possible peace agreement, and offered increased United Nations support for the South Sudanese mediation efforts. The humanitarian community will also provide assistance to non-combatants separated from LRA forces and communities surrounding the assembly areas in southern Sudan, and basic service provision to LRA forces in assembly areas.
“The United Nations is firmly behind the peace process in Juba,” Mr. Egeland said. “A conflict that has dragged on for 20 years may not be resolved according to the clock. Both sides need to show patience to ensure a successful conclusion to the peace process,” he said.
For further information, please call: Stephanie Bunker, OCHA- New York, tel.: +1 917 367 5126, mobile +1 917 892 1679; Kristen Knutson, OCHA- New York, tel.: +1 917 367 9262; Elisabeth Byrs, OCHA-Geneva, tel.: +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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