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UN Council's New President Says Uganda's LRA Is Still in the Woods, Jan Pronk Should Be Replaced

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis

UNITED NATIONS, August 2 -- "It will be a slow month," Ambassador Pascal Gayama of Congo-Brazzaville, president of the UN Security Council for August, told reporters on Thursday. He has scheduled only two days of Council meeting for next week, including a review on August 9 of the meeting of Darfur rebel group now underway in Arusha, Tanzania.

            Inner City Press asked Amb. Gayama about the delay in appointing envoys to Sudan and Cote d'Ivoire, about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army, and about Ban Ki-moon's move to consolidate the UN Office of the Special Advisor on Africa. "We expect the recommendations to be made" of envoys, especially to replace Jan Pronk in Sudan, Amb. Gayama replied.

            Regarding the Lord's Resistance Army, Amb. Gayama said "they are not out of the woods" -- toujours dans les bois, which could also refer to them remaining in the bush, where the UN has built them an airstrip. The Ugandan "government has preferred to place stress on reconciliation instead of justice, in capital letters," he said (as translated by the UN, video here, from Minute 17:55 to 23:20.

            "The leadership" of the LRA is subject to "prosecution by the International Criminal Court," Amb. Gayama continued. They might "require guarantees to extricate," while "the population has been taken hostage by the situation."

UPDF in Gulu, Northern Uganda

            Inner City Press asked, Will the Security Council ask to hear from the UN's envoy Joaquim Chissano? Amb. Gayama didn't say. He was more effusive in response to Inner City Press' question about the consolidation of the UN Office of the Special Adviser on Africa.

            "The latest proposition" for the OSSA is "more pared down," he said. "The African countries need to talk with the Secretary-General, to understand if these reforms are well-grounded." In French he said that the proposal to consolidation the Office "n'etait pas conforme" with General Assembly resolution -- did not conform to. This was translated as "we have noted the decisions made by the General Assembly."  Developing.

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Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund, while UNDP won't answer.

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