Uganda, Rwanda committed to Luanda agreement – officials

Monday September 16 2019

Rwanda’s Minister of State in charge of East African Community Affairs Olivier Nduhungirehe greets Uganda’s Foreign Affairs Minister Sam Kutesa.

Rwanda’s Minister of State in charge of East African Community Affairs Olivier Nduhungirehe greets Uganda’s Foreign Affairs Minister Sam Kutesa in Kigali on September 16, 2019, before the opening session of a meeting between officials of the two countries. PHOTO | CYRIL NDEGEYA 

IVAN R. MUGISHA
By IVAN R. MUGISHA
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KIGALI,

Rwanda and Uganda are committed to implementing the agreement signed in August in Luanda to ease tension between them, government officials from both countries said Monday.

Rwanda President Paul Kagame and his Ugandan counterpart Yoweri Museveni signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in Angola’s capital Luanda, witnessed by Presidents Joao Lourenco (Angola) and Felix Tshisekedi (DR Congo).

On Monday, government officials from Rwanda and Uganda were locked for hours in a private meeting in Kigali, as they sought to find ways to cease hostilities that have led to trade and travel restrictions.

In an open morning session, Ugandan Minister of Foreign Affairs Sam Kutesa said his country desires to “fully implement” the agreement.

“The MoU underlines the scale of Pan Africanism and is vital to our social economic development. Our two countries have long historic socio-economic and cultural ties and the closure of borders has disrupted communities, separated families and disrupted trade and movement of goods and people,” Mr Kutesa said.

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“Uganda is home to millions of people from Rwanda who are recognised as Ugandan citizens by our constitution. The people of our two countries are anxious and need to see progress. Therefore, we should consider the immediate steps to finding solutions.”

Rwanda’s Minister of State for the East African Community, Olivier Nduhungirehe, added that the country is “fully committed to the realisation of the objectives of the MoU and we will not be found wanting.”

“Much as the MoU signing was important it is good faith implementation that is the decisive factor. That is what our citizens expect from us,” he said.

“As neighbours and partners of EAC, we share a common vision of peace, security and economic integration and we are bound by protocols we have signed especially the protocol on peace and security, and the common market protocol which provides free movement of people, goods and services and capital,” Mr Nduhungirehe added.

Mr Nduhungirehe and Mr Kutesa were scheduled to hold a joint press conference after the private meeting.

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