KAMPALA, 14 March (IRIN) - Ugandan
members of parliament have passed a motion to extend the five-day ceasefire,
ordered by President Yoweri Museveni on 10 March, to enable peace negotiations
to continue with the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebels.
An MP for Otuke county who tabled the motion, Daniel Omara Atubo, told IRIN it was "high time the government took up the matter seriously because for over 16 years the people of Acholi and Lango [in northern Uganda] have suffered".
On the same day, parliament also voted in favour of holding peace talks with the LRA in the presence of a third party and in a neutral country.
However, Gilbert Bukenya, a minister for the presidency and member of the government peace team, told IRIN that it was not necessary to have talks outside the country.
"We are Ugandans, the problems are Ugandan and therefore we shall have all our problems discussed here in Uganda," he said. "There is no reason as to why we should hold the talks outside our country."
Bukenya added that it was not possible to extend the cessation of hostilities, as the five days were to enable the LRA leader, Joseph Kony, to name his negotiating team. "If he does that within the five-day period that expires this Saturday then we shall establish a framework for these talks to continue," he said.
"If Kony does not name his team within the president's limit, then we shall have no option but to fight them till we finish them," he warned.
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