Mending Rwanda, Uganda ties requires political will, says Biruta

Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr Vincent Biruta follows a virtual meeting of senior government officials from Rwanda and Uganda in Kigali on 4 June 2020 (Courtesy)

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr Vincent Biruta, has said that it will take political will to restore relations between Uganda and Rwanda.

Uganda has promised to release 130 Rwandan citizens early next week.

 

The commitment was made during the Thursday, June 4, virtual meeting of senior government officials from both countries.

 

There has been some progress. 130 Rwandan citizens will be released. This is good. But there are many other outstanding issues that must be dealt with, including the continued arrest and harassment of Rwandans in Uganda," Biruta said in a short press conference in which he responded to only two questions from the media.

 

This was the fourth Ad Hoc Commission meeting.

"We realised that a lot more needs to be done for normal relations to return.  There must be political will so that if any issue comes up we can have a way of resolving it," Biruta added.

Sam Kutesa,the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Uganda leads Ugandan side during the meeting in Uganda on 4 June 2020 (Courtesy)

The officials agreed to hold another conference before a Heads of State summit can be recommended.

"There will be another Ad Hoc Commission to discuss the way forward," he said, not stating when exactly the next meeting would convene.

Biruta said that there are still activities of terrorist groups operating in Uganda whose primary mission is to destabilise Rwanda.

The meeting chaired by Uganda’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sam Kutesa, was also attended by Tete Antonio, Minister of External Relations of Angola, and Gilbert Kankonde Malamba, DR Congo's Deputy Prime Minister, and Minister of Interior, Security and Customary Affairs.

Angola and the DR Congo are facilitators in the ongoing process to normalize the relations between Rwanda and Uganda.

Kutesa convened the meeting via video conference due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which has made it difficult to physically meet.

Kutesa claimed that Rwanda has maintained an illegal embargo on Ugandan goods.

jkaruhanga@newtimesrwanda.com

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