Ethiopia: AU PSC reaffirms commitment to eliminate LRA

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (PANA) - Withdrawal of the Ugandan People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) and the U.S. Special Forces from the Regional Cooperation Initiative for the Elimination of the Lord’s Resistance Army (RCI-LRA), has prompted the Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the African Union (AU) to renew the mandate of the RCI for 12 months until 22 May 2018.

Also, taking into account the need to realign the Concept of Operations (CONOPs) of the Regional Task Force (RTF) in the fight against the LRA with the latest developments on the ground, the PSC has requested the AU Commission to convene the Summit of the RCI-LRA member countries as soon as possible, with a view to providing the necessary guidance on the future configuration of the Regional Initiative.

In a communiqué issued on Friday, following its 685th meeting held in Addis Ababa, the Council noted with satisfaction the progress made by the RCI-LRA towards the elimination of the LRA, particularly through the operations conducted by the RTF, "which have significantly degraded the fighting capacity of the LRA".

The PSC has further requested the Commission to take the necessary steps to expedite the review of the CONOPs and mobilize adequate resources to sustain the Initiative during this period.

In spite of the progress achieved to date, the Council stressed that the LRA has not yet been eliminated and still maintains the potential to rejuvenate itself, particularly, if the security vacuum left by the UPDF and the US Special Forces is not urgently filled.

According to the communiqué, the PSC reiterated its deep concern over the continued criminal activities of the LRA, as well as over the negative impact of those conducted by Central African Republic (CAR) armed groups, notably the ex-Seleka (Popular Front for the Rebirth of the Central African Republic or FPRC, and l'Union pour la Paix en Centrafrique or UPC), and Anti-Balaka, which undermine the peace process in that country and cause displacement of civilians, loss of lives and destruction of property, in the same theatre of LRA operations.

"In this regard, Council reaffirms its commitment to the elimination of the LRA and all negative forces operating in the region, as well as to stabilise areas affected by the activities of this terrorist group," the communiqué stated.

Expressing deep appreciation to all AU partners, notably the United States, the European Union and the United Nations,  for their continued support  to the RCI-LRA, the Council urged them to enhance their support, with a view to enabling the RTF to pursue and intensify its action towards the elimination of the threat that LRA poses to the promotion of peace, security and stability in the region.

The Council has welcomed the offer made by Uganda and South Sudan to train the CAR armed forces (FACA), with a view to enabling them to better contribute in the fight against the LRA.

It also welcomed the offer by Uganda to host the new RTF headquarters in the north-western part of the country. In the same context, Council commended the  EU and the US  for their readiness to support the RTF headquarters.

The PSC has urged the UN Security Council to take into account the disarmament of the LRA in the mandate of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA).
-0- PANA AR/MA 19May2017

19 may 2017 12:03:53

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