By Moses Odokonyero
July 22, 2013 (KAMPALA) - Uganda has dismissed as "rubbish" claims by Sudan that it is supporting rebel groups hostile to the Khartoum government.
- SRF leaders, form the left, Gibril Ibrahim (JEM), Malik Agar (SPLM-N), Abdel wahil Al Nur (SLM-AW) Minnin Minnawi (SLM-MM) and Yasir Arman (SPLM-N), on 4 October 2012 after the signing of a new political agreement between the rebel groups in Kampala, Uganda (Photo SRF)
The Chinese news agency, Xinhua, reported on Saturday that Sudan had lodged a complaint with the African Union (AU) accusing Uganda of supporting rebels fighting the Khartoum government.
But in a phone interview with the Sudan Tribune on Monday, Uganda’s Minister of State for International Affairs, Henry Okello Oryem dismissed the accusation.
"It is the usual rubbish from Khartoum. The accusers [Sudan] normally come up with such accusations when they have internal problems. The Sudanese regime is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC). Let them deal with it. Uganda is not wanted by the ICC. We are promoting peace in DRC Congo, Somalia and Central Africa Republic", said Oryem.
The Ugandan minister denied that his government supports elements against the establishment in Khartoum. Instead, he reiterated that Sudan supports the rebel Lord Resistance Army (LRA).
"It is not a secret that Sudan supports the LRA. The international community is aware of this. When Kony was in Darfur, the Sudan government invited him to a military facility and offered him intelligence and military equipments", the Ugandan minister said.
The LRA fought the Ugandan government for two decades and at the peak of the conflict displaced two million people in northern Uganda from their homes and villages into internally displaced persons camps.
For the last six years the LRA has been more active in the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo and to an extent South Sudan. There have been no recent reported attacks by the LRA in Ugandan territory.
The accusation of support to rebel groups by Sudan against Uganda is not the first. In March this year, in a meeting of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) in Burundi, Sudan accused Uganda of supporting rebels against the Khartoum government.
Like now, Uganda denied the claims. Ugandan minister Henry Okello Oryem says Sudan even failed to table the accusations before the ICGLR in Burundi.
The two countries held a series of meetings in Khartoum and Juba in 2012 but they failed to reach an agreement over the alleged support to rebel groups.
In May of this year, the Sudanese newspapers in Khartoum reported that Ugandan authorities decided to ban meetings the rebel groups used to hold in Kampala.