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24.05.2022 17:42 News >> Relations Between Uganda, Rwanda Moving In Right Direction: Minister

Relations Between Uganda, Rwanda Moving In Right Direction: Minister

Presidents of 2 countries attend dinner viewed as veiled launch of political project that would see Uganda's Museveni hand over power to his son.

Uganda's State Minister for Foreign Affairs Henry Oryem Okello has said relations between his country and neighboring Rwanda are back on track.
Rwandan President Paul Kagame was in Uganda recently to attend a state dinner to celebrate the 48th birthday of President Yoweri Museveni's son Muhoozi Kainerugaba.
It marked the first time that Kagame had stepped foot on the Ugandan soil in four years. Relations between the two countries reached their lowest ebb in decades in 2019 as both presidents hurled accusations of sabotage resulting in Rwanda sealing its border with Uganda and issuing a travel advisory strongly warning its citizens against traveling there.
Both sides have since made progress toward mending ties. The border reopened after two years and social and economic links have been re-established. Muhoozi emerged as a key player in this effort, making two highly-publicized visits to Rwanda this year to hold talks with President Kagame.
The two leaders held bilateral talks and attended Muhoozi's birthday bash at the State House in Entebbe, which is widely viewed as the thinly veiled launch of a political project that would see Muhoozi succeed his father, who has ruled Uganda for close to 40 years.
In an exclusive interview with Anadolu Agency, Okello said the president is the fountain of foreign relations and chooses whoever he deems fit to execute foreign missions, including his son.
"If his son is a friend of the Rwandan president, I don't see a problem if such an existing relationship is built upon to better the relations of our country. I also have personal friends. President of South Sudan H.E. Salva Kiir is my friend. Would it be wrong to use our personal friendship to better the relations of our countries?"
The minister said there could be some remaining diplomatic issues, but Kagame's visit will ease resolving them.
Somalia
Okello reiterated the Ugandan government's commitment to continue supporting the Somali government.
"We welcome back former President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud as the new president. We hope he's learnt from the previous mistakes and will address the security problems of Somalia.
"As long as there is terrorism in Somalia, regional security is far from being achieved. Ugandan troops will do everything in their means to eliminate terrorists in Somalia for as long as we are needed," he said.
The Ugandan troops control the largest area in Somalia, deployed in Sector One, which comprises the regions of Banadir and Lower Shabelle, having pushed Al Shabaab militants over 200 kilometers (124 miles) away from Mogadishu.
The Uganda People's Defense Force also guards key installations in Somalia, including the State House, parliament, and the headquarters of the African Union Mission in Somalia
Democratic Republic of Congo
Okello told Anadolu Agency that Uganda is in discussions with the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to resolve a dispute arising out of a ruling by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) that the country must pay $325 million in reparations to the DRC for its involvement in the Ituri conflict two decades ago.
"The court's decision failed to appreciate African matters and makes no contribution to current efforts at resolving the security issues that persist," he said.
The minister also denied any wrongdoings from the army, stating that the military is a very disciplined force.
He said Uganda will withdraw its forces from the DRC after a joint operation against the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebel group since late last year.
Uganda accuses the ADF, which is affiliated with the Daesh/ISIS terror group operating in eastern DRC, of the twin suicide attacks that rocked Kampala last year, killing five people and injuring more than 30.
In December last year, Uganda jointly deployed troops with the DRC and shared intelligence in a wide range of attacks against ADF bases.
Under the deployment agreement, the operation was supposed to last six months. The extension of the deployment will be decided by Museveni and his DRC counterpart President Felix Tshisekedi.
"The fight against the ADF and other rebel outfits within our region requires regional collaboration. This is why President Museveni proposed the establishment of the East African Community (EAC) force," he said.
The EAC heads of state agreed last month to form a regional force that will help contain and where necessary fight negative forces within the region.
The regional force will be under the leadership of the DRC and will be partly used to fully restore peace and security in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo, which is the newest member of the EAC. -



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