October 30, 2007 / 4:04 PM / 10 years ago

Bush wants northern Uganda to move toward peace

(Updates with Bush, Museveni quotes)

By Tabassum Zakaria

WASHINGTON, Oct 30 (Reuters) - President George W. Bush discussed the long-running conflict in northern Uganda with Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni on Tuesday and believes the situation needs to move toward peace, the White House said.

"We talked about the security in the region," Bush said in the Oval Office, seated next to Museveni. The leaders also discussed Somalia and Sudan, and "I assured him that we’re committed to peace and stability."

Earlier on Tuesday, rebels said negotiators from the rebel Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) planned to meet the Ugandan president in Kampala this week to try to revive talks to end one of Africa’s most brutal conflicts.

"The president believes the situation in northern Uganda needs to be resolved sooner rather than later," Gordon Johndroe, spokesman for the White House National Security Council, said.

"President Bush asked President Museveni for his assessment of the situation on the ground and then they had a discussion about the need for the peace talks to go forward," he said.

Bush has discussed the issue with other leaders in the region, Johndroe said, adding that regional security and stability would lead to increased trade and economic opportunity.

Tens of thousands of people have been killed and 1.7 million uprooted in northern Uganda during the fighting that has also destabilized remote parts of southern Sudan and northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

Bush said he had spoken to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon about Sudan and that it was important to put pressure on the parties to come up with an agreement that would help end what the United States calls genocide in the Darfur region.

"And it’s important for the United Nations to get moving those troops into the Darfur region as quickly as possible," Bush said.

Museveni said Uganda was pleased with the 7-year-old African Growth and Opportunity Act that opened up U.S. markets for African products.

"Uganda is already exporting processed fish from Lake Victoria to the U.S.," Museveni said. "This is good also for the American consumers because this fish is very good for health. There’s very little pollution in our part of the world."

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