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Politician Says Ugandan Rebel Leader Will Sign Peace Deal in Person

By VOA News
06 March 2008

A Ugandan politician and peace negotiator says rebel leader Joseph Kony will emerge from hiding to sign a final peace deal with the government.

Norbert Mao said Thursday that he has been told Kony will appear in person to sign the deal by March 28.

Kony is currently believed to be hiding in the remote eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. He is one of three leaders of the rebel Lord's Resistance Army wanted by the International Criminal Court on charges of war crimes.

The rebels have said they will not agree to a final deal until the ICC indictments are lifted.

It is not clear whether Kony could be detained if he arrives to sign the final agreement. Mao says the rebel leader plans to return to LRA camps after the signing.

Meanwhile, Uganda's military said Thursday that a soldier was killed Tuesday in clashes between LRA forces and Ugandan troops in southern Sudan.

Violence between the sides has mostly subsided since the rebels agreed to a cease-fire in 2006.

Since then, the two sides have signed a series of documents, including an accord that provides for the disarmament and demobilization of the LRA.

The Ugandan rebels are now pressing the International Criminal Court to drop the war crimes charges against Kony and his top aides. This week, the ICC's chief prosecutor said he would not meet with Ugandan rebels, and insisted the indictments stay in place.

Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo accused Kony and other LRA commanders of murdering entire communities in northern Uganda. He also accused them of abducting thousands of children and using them as fighters and sex slaves.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

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