Ugandan negotiators, led by Microfinance State Minister Salim Saleh, have reportedly made significant progress at informal talks with Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) representatives on the Kenyan coast of Mombasa.
In a statement released on Wednesday Pax Christi, a Catholic peace group that is trying to push forward stalled negotiations between the two sides, said that the Mombasa meeting head reached significant agreements on extending a truce. It said that the LRA delegation will take the documents to their principals on the Sudan-Congo border to seek their approval.
The Mombasa meeting took place from March 31st to April 6th.
Pax Christi said agreement was reached on policies to address what the rebels call the government's marginalization of northern Uganda, and on giving a prominent role to traditional reconciliation rituals to make amends for years of atrocities. It added that the government would ask parliament to pass laws recognizing alternative justice mechanisms and would then approach the International Criminal Court regarding indictments against the top LRA leaders.
It gave no further details, but experts say the arrest warrants are a key sticking point since the rebels' top leaders refuse to leave their forest hideouts unless they are scrapped.
Two decades of fighting in northern Uganda have killed tens of thousand people and uprooted nearly two million more, creating one of the world's worst humanitarian crises.
Under a landmark truce agreed in August, LRA fighters were supposed to gather at two south Sudan camps -- one east of the Nile and one near the border with Democratic Republic of Congo.
Without senior LRA commanders sitting at the negotiating table in Juba, southern Sudan, the discussions stumbled along for months before effectively stalling in January when the rebels' representatives demanded a new venue and new mediators.
Uganda's government had said earlier this month it expected talks to resume in Juba this Friday after South Africa, Kenya and Mozambique agreed to join the process as mediators.