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Joint UN-African mission seeks to end LRA violence

A United Nations and African Union joint mission traveled to the Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, and Uganda last week seeking regional cooperation from countries affected by the Lord's Resistance Army.

By Annette LaRoccoGuest blogger / January 13, 2012

In Nov. 2006 the leader of the Lord's Resistance Army, Joseph Kony, answers journalists' questions following a meeting with UN humanitarian chief Jan Egeland in southern Sudan.

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Two high-ranking officials traveled to Bangui, Central African Republic, Juba, South Sudan, Kampala, Uganda and Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo last week to address the coordination of regional efforts to defeat the Lord’s Resistance Army, or LRA.

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During their four-country tour, the African Union (AU) special envoy for the LRA, Francisco Madeira, and Abou Moussa Special Representative of the Secretary-General, or SRSG, and head of the United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa, met with high-ranking civilian and military officials, as well as diplomatic representatives from the United States, European Union, and France, to discuss regional cooperation and the implementation of an AU initiative focused on ending the LRA.   

The United Nations and the AU have a history of cooperation promoting peace and security, and their coordination on the LRA issue is encouraging. While in each capital, Madeira and Moussa reiterated the need for regional harmonization between the four countries.

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There were several important advancements in the regional initiative that came out of the recent trip.

The joint mission aimed to reiterate the AU and UN's common goal of ending the LRA. At the first stop in the Central African Republic’s capital of Bangui, the diplomats said, “It is time to take action.” Following this declaration, Madeira laid out a tentative time table citing it was necessary that all of the components of the regional mission, including the Regional Intervention Force, Joint Operations Center and Joint Coordinating Mechanism, be immediately put in place, ideally within two months. Additionally, Moussa announced a February meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia for all stakeholders to discuss continuing coordination of strategies for defeating the LRA. According to Enough sources, technical assessments are ongoing, and a ministerial-level meeting to mark the launch of the operation is planned for early February in South Sudan.

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