Uganda-Rwanda: talks-cinema for peace?

Rwanda and Ugandan officials Monday(September 16) started a one-day meeting in Kigali. Monday’s meeting involving diplomatic ministers and heads of intelligence .

Olivier NDUHUNGIREHE,Rwandan minsiter of State in charge of the EAC ,and Sam KUTESA,Ugandan minister of Foreign Affairs

The meeting was the first of the Ad-hoc Commission for the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding between Uganda and Rwanda as mandated by last month’s Luanda Summit.

From Luanda to Kigali,why?

After the Luanda meeting(August 21), an ad hoc commission was set up for the implementation of the deal, to come up with a solution to end the ongoing impasse in relations between the two countries.

The agreement was expected to be effected immediately but there has not been any progress yet several weeks later.

The talks follow a pact signed by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and Paul Kagame of Rwanda last month in Luanda, Angola, to ease those tensions between the two countries.

The talks are expected to lead to the opening of the Gatuna border which has been closed since February, jeopardizing trade flow between the two nations.

The deal signed in Angola

According to Reuters,the presidents of Rwanda and Uganda signed a pact on Wednesday aimed at ending a long-running rivalry that led to conflict in the past and closed their busiest border crossing for the past six months.

In the deal signed in the Angolan capital, the two sides agreed to respect each other’s sovereignty, refrain from actions that destabilize the other’s territory, and resume “as soon as possible” cross-border activities

Rwanda has repeatedly accused Uganda of supporting anti-Kigali rebel movements, a charge Uganda denies. Both say their citizens are mistreated in the other’s country.

Tensions boiled over in February, when Rwanda closed their main border crossing. It was briefly re-opened to cargo trucks in June but then closed again. Rwandans are banned from traveling to Uganda, which has accused Rwanda of effectively imposing a trade embargo.

The border dispute has hit both countries’ economies and separated families and business people who regularly cross the border. Finally, the two sides agreed to form a commission to implement the pact headed by the intelligence chiefs and foreign affairs ministers of each country.

Presidents Museveni of Uganda and Kagame of Rwanda in Luanda summit

We have agreed on a raft of issues that will be implemented between our two countries, largely meant to improve our security, trade, and political relations. Uganda is fully committed to enforcing this agreement,” Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni tweeted after the signing.

As to Kagame, he said: “I deeply thank the leaders of Angola and (Congo) for their attitude and brotherly commitment to helping us find solutions between Uganda and Rwanda,” his office tweeted.

The signing in Luanda was witnessed by the presidents of Angola, Congo and its neighbor, Republic of Congo.

 Key Resolutions of KIGALI to KAMPALA

All teams of delegations in Kigali

In Kigali, the delegations arrived at 7 points,accordding to the COMMUNIQUE, as a key resolutions of hostilities between Uganda and Rwanda:

  1. Rwanda provided a list of Rwandans detained in Uganda and the Republic of Uganda committed to verify the information for the purpose of processing those named through due judicial process and releasing those against whom no evidence of criminal conduct will have been found.
  2. Both parties agreed that due process will be followed in dealing with each other’s citizens.
  3. Both parties reiterated their commitment to refraining from any acts of destabilization against each other.
  4. Both parties agreed to finalize the extradition treaty in order to provide a framework for the future exchange of criminal fugitives.
  5. Both parties committed to cease all forms of hostile propaganda in both mainstream and social media.
  6. Both parties agreed that the issue of free movement of persons and goods and services across the common border and other outstanding issues shall be discussed in the next meeting.
  7. The next meeting will be held in Kampala after 30 days to review the progress of the implementation of the Luanda MoU.

As the two parties commetted to the realisation of the directives of Luanda Summit, Rwandans and Ungandans citizens hope to see trade becomes effectively normal. They do not need those talks-cinema for unpeaceful existence which damages the Easten African Community image.

Sources: newvision.co.ug and reuters.com

ByProtogène BUTERA