The UK, along with other members of the international community, is strongly supportive of efforts to resolve the long-running Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) insurgency and address the humanitarian problems in northern Uganda.
The UN has an important role to play. The UK was actively involved in securing the two recent UN Security Council Resolutions, 1653 and 1663, which have condemned the activities of militias and illegal armed groups such as the LRA.
The UK is encouraging the Ugandan Government to accept the appointment of a Special Envoy on the LRA. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Development raised this with President Museveni on 16 May when they discussed the role a special envoy could play in achieving greater regional co-operation on the LRA issue.
We have welcomed the establishment by the Government of Uganda of the Joint Monitoring Committee (JMC) to improve the humanitarian situation in northern Uganda. The JMC is currently developing an action plan to take this work forward and our high commissioner in Kampala and Department for International Development Uganda are both closely involved in this.
I refer the hon. Gentleman to the reply I gave him on 5 June 2006, Official Report, column 345W, and to the reply given by the former Minister for Trade my hon. Friend the Member for Leicester, East (Keith Vaz), on 6 March 2006, Official Report, column 1179W.
On 29 April 2005 our high commission in Kampala issued a press release which reaffirmed the elements we considered necessary to achieving a legitimate process of political and constitutional change in Uganda. These included establishment of the rules for multi-party competition and separation of the organs of state from the Movement in law and practice.
In that statement we made clear that we were concerned by several aspects of the transition, including that insufficient progress had been made towards establishing a fair basis for a multi-party system. We therefore decided then to withhold £5 million of budget support (out of a total of £40 million for the financial year).
We have not received, nor would we expect to, a formal response to our press release. We have of course maintained a high-level dialogue with the Government of Uganda on all aspects of the transition to a multi-party system in the run up to the multi-party elections in February 2006. I will arrange for a copy of the statement to be placed in the Library of the House.