( dpa )- A peace deal meant to end a 20-year insurgency in northern Uganda will be signed with the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebels on April 5, Uganda's government said Thursday, delaying further the end of the 20-month-long talks.
The Ugandan government and the LRA resumed talks on Monday in preparation for the signing of the final peace treaty which had been planned for March 28 but the signing date has been changed to April 5th, government officials told reporters.
The negotiations between the government of Uganda and the LRA have been concluded ... The LRA have agreed to sign. We would like to see (leader Joseph) Kony personally present during the signing ceremony," said the government's chief negotiator, Ruhakana Rugunda.
"If Kony does not appear, this will not torpedo the signing of the agreement," Rugunda said.
He said the signing has been delayed because details were being finalized.
The talks took a giant leap forward when the government peace team agreed to allow Kony and other LRA commanders to be tried locally, rather than be sent to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague for war crimes charges.
The ICC has said it will pursue the arrest warrants it issued in 2005.
President Yoweri Museveni opened talks with the LRA in mid-2006 after offering an amnesty to the rebels who would give up the rebellion that left tens of thousands killed and displaced nearly 2 million.