U.S. Reps. Jim McGovern (D-MA) and Ed Royce (R-CA) today announced that they had coordinated a strongly bipartisan letter, signed by 78 Members of Congress, calling on President Obama to exercise leadership and to coordinate, along with the U.N. and the African Union (AU), a side meeting during September's convening of the U.N. General Assembly to press nations to make concrete commitments to strengthen regional coordination in addressing the LRA threat, apprehending its commander Joseph Kony and his top military commanders, and civilian protection.
On June 29th, the United Nations endorsed an African Union force to capture warlord Joseph Kony and neutralize his Lord's Resistance Army. The 15-member Security Council approved the "United Nations Regional Strategy to Address the Threat and Impact of the Activities of the LRA." The plan provisions a new force of 5,000 AU soldiers and bolsters humanitarian efforts in the region of LRA activity, which currently includes the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, the Central African Republic and Sudan. But the commander of the proposed AU force stated on July 25th that the force lacked equipment, logistics and manpower.
The McGovern-Royce letter recognizes the need for strong regional coordination and calls on President Obama to assert U.S. leadership to bring key actors together to ensure this happens in a robust manner.
"The world community must continue to focus on capturing Joseph Kony and putting an end to the violence," Rep. McGovern said. "We are urging the Obama Administration to make this a high priority in the weeks and months ahead."
"It would be a tragedy if poor cross-border cooperation allowed Joseph Kony and his commanders to slip through the cracks," Rep. Royce said. "This bipartisan initiative calls for Presidential leadership -- to ensure that all the countries the LRA has plagued are working together to stop the killing."