Uganda: April 17, 2004

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: The Ugandan and Sudanese governments continue to cooperate against  the LRA and on refugee issues. At the moment, improving relations with Uganda is one of the few bright diplomatic spots for Sudan (which may illustrate the mess Sudan faces). The reasons for cooperating against the Lords Resistance Army are more obvious-- Joseph Kony's mad-dog group, though probably funded by "sources in  Sudan," has spread chaos in Sudanese territory as well as Uganda. In a recent  statement, one Sudanese governmental official touted Sudan's efforts against the LRA. There's a "background" political reason for that: Sudan wants to get off the "terror list" kept by the United States. The other reason for Sudan-Uganda  cooperation is refugees. On April 16, Uganda and Sudan reached a tentative refugee repatriation agreement. The refugees are a big burden on Uganda, where over  200,000 south Sudan refugees reside. The UN recently estimated that Uganda has 223,000 Sudanese refugees in Uganda. Though there is an "ebb and flow" of  refugees, a few of the Sudanese refugees have been in Uganda for two decades.  Refugees cost money, even when international aid defrays most of the expenses. Sudan still has several thousand Ugandan refugees (the number is hard to pin down). Some of these Ugandans originally fled Idi Amin's regime in the late 1970s.  Uganda and Sudan have also agreed to cooperate on several trade and development  issues.

 

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