Luanda MoU: Rwanda dispels reports about Kampala meeting

Olivier Nduhungirehe. / File

Nearly a week after the date when senior Rwandan and Ugandan officials were due to reconvene for a follow-up meeting in the Ugandan capital, Kampala, by invitation of the latter, no official invitation is known in Kigali but confusing pronouncements are appearing the Ugandan newspapers.

When Rwandan and Ugandan officials met in Kigali last month on September 16, both parties agreed that a follow-up meeting, to iron out the differences between both countries would happen 30 days later in Kampala.

When those 30 days elapsed last week, no invitation from Kampala had come through. It still has not materialized.

But, over the weekend, a Ugandan newspaper published a report alleging that Kampala dispatched an invite to Kigali for their next meeting set for November 13.

In Kigali, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MINAFFET) on Monday confirmed it still has not heard, officially, from Kampala.

Olivier Nduhungirehe, the Minister of State in charge of the East African Community, said: “MINAFFET was not consulted on any date and we are yet to receive any invitation. We have learned about this meeting on Twitter, like anyone else.”

The September 16 meeting ended without a major breakthrough.

But the parties agreed to meet in Kampala after 30 days to review progress on the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding signed in Luanda, Angola, a month earlier.

Last month, the Rwandan delegation served their Ugandan counterparts with a list of Rwandan nationals who are illegally held in Uganda.

At the time, Nduhungirehe told the delegates at the joint Ad hoc Commission meeting that persistent arbitrary detention and torture of innocent Rwandans in Uganda was one of the issues that have undermined bilateral relations between the two neighbors.

In March, Kigali issued an advisory on Uganda travel saying it could not guarantee its citizens’ safety there.

Among others, it was expected that the second meeting would discuss issues of mutual concern such as the free movement of persons, goods, and services across the common border.

Last month, Uganda promised to verify information related to the Rwandans detained there.

Kigali among others accuses Uganda of aiding armed elements that seek to destabilize Rwanda.

A UN report released in December 2018 confirmed that Uganda was a major source of recruits for Rwandan rebel outfits based in eastern DR Congo.

Two senior leaders of the FDLR militia arrested by Congolese authorities last year and transferred to Kigali confessed in court that they were seized as they returned from a meeting with Ugandan and RNC officials in Kampala.

Last month, the two delegations agreed on a number of issues of mutual concern, including Rwanda providing Uganda with a list of its nationals believed to be detained in Uganda and the latter committed to verify the information.

Sources then said the list contained 209 Rwandan nationals.

The verification would allow for due process including releasing those against whom no evidence of criminal conduct will have been found, officials said at the time.

Both parties also agreed that due process will be followed in dealing with each other’s citizens and they reiterated their commitment to refraining from any acts of destabilization against each other.

Kigali also accuses Kampala of being involved in “acts of economic sabotage” against Rwanda and called for “full and meaningful implementation of the Luanda MoU.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

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