Rwanda-Uganda talks kicked off today as Ministers of foreign affairs, diplomats, and officials gather for the implementation of the Luanda pact as both sides show concerns and willingness to reach a fundamental position as regards to implementation of Luanda Agreement.
Amb. Olivier Nduhungirehe, Rwanda’s Minister of State in charge of the East African Community told the delegates meeting about the concerns and good neighborliness despite that some problems in bilateral relations have persisted.
“Rwanda and Uganda are geographically linked as neighbors. Our two countries also have long and deep historical, economic and culture ties. We know from history, during the partition of Africa, new borders were put in place sowing new states which had no basis in culture, history or economics,” Nduhungirehe said in the opening remarks.
The one-day meeting is a follow up on last MoU which was signed in Luanda, Angola in which Rwanda and Uganda agreed to normalize relations.
“We are here as ministers mandated by our leaders to operationalize the Memorandum of Understanding signed on the 21st of August 2019 in Luanda, Angola by implementing it,” he said.
The MoU was signed on August 21 and is considered by Kigali to be an important tool for sustainable peace and security in the region.
It underlines the spirit of Pan-Africanism, which Uganda considers as a critical bedrock of the regional integration efforts vital to the economic, social and political progress.
Speeches signaling willingness to implement an MoU
Nduhungirehe said, the artificial borders disrupted communities living along the border, separating clans and families, disrupting trade and pastoral routes but that both countries are inseparable.
“Uganda ended up Rwanda and part of Rwanda ended in Uganda. Uganda in fact is home to people of Rwandese descent, Banyarwanda, who are constitutionally recognized as one of Uganda’s tribes,” Nduhungirehe added.
“My delegation is, therefore, glad to be here because Uganda seeks openly cooperative and collaborative relations with Rwanda, like other neighboring countries and states of the continent. Our approach today should be viewed as part of an important process, and not an event,”
Meanwhile, his counterpart, Uganda’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Sam Kuteesa said, both countries share historical ties that should normally build a strong, strategic alliance given the longstanding bonds linking the two peoples and countries.
Kuteesa said, as neighbor’s and partner states of the East African Community, both Uganda and Rwanda share a common vision of peace, security and economic integration.
“We are bound by the protocols we’ve signed, especially the protocol on peace and security, on common market, protocol which provides for free movement of people, goods, services and capital, as well as right of residence and establishment,” he said.
“Nonetheless, there are concerns that continue to hinder our bilateral relationship and good neighborliness. Those concerns include active support provided to elements hostile to Rwanda, the arbitrary arrests, detention and torture of innocent Rwandans in Uganda, and acts of economic sabotage,” Kuteesa added.
The Memorandum was a culmination of a process, which started in Kinshasa in May and continued in Luanda in July under the facilitation of the Presidents of Angola and DRC.
“Permit me to recall that this facilitated process follows other rounds of bilateral engagement between Uganda and Rwanda at the level of heads of intelligence, attorneys general, ministers of foreign affairs, and Heads of State,”
Kuteesa also said that the meeting should be a collective commitment that the Luanda MoU is final and decisive process that will bring back normalcy, trust and confidence between the two sisterly countries.
“Rwanda is fully committed to the realization of the objectives of the MoU, we will not be found wanting. We welcome the facilitators to monitor and, where necessary, guide the steps we take to achieve full and meaningful implementation,” Kuteesa added.
The Express News