Rwanda, Uganda agree to mend political, trade ties

President Kagame and his regional counterparts addressing the media after the signing of the agreement in Luanda, Angola yesterday. (L-R) Sassou Nguesso (Congo-Brazzaville), Yoweri Museveni (Uganda), João Lourenço (Angola), Kagame and Félix Tshisekedi of DR Congo. Village Urugwiro.

President Paul Kagame has said that the Memorandum of Understanding signed yesterday should be implemented in its entirety.

Kagame was addressing the press in Luanda, Angola after the signing of the agreement. 

The MoU was signed by President Kagame and President Museveni as well as Presidents João Lourenço of Angola, Félix Tshisekedi of DR Congo and witnessed by President Sassou Nguesso of Congo-Brazzaville.

The MoU, which was reached to restore relations between the two neighbouring countries, was facilitated by Angola and DRC.

Commenting on the agreement, President Kagame reiterated that implementing the terms outlined in the MoU would be in the best interest for citizens of the two countries and their progress.

“We are not going to be found wanting in not only respecting the communique, but also our brothers who have brought us together to reach this understanding,” he said.

On free movement of people and trade, Kagame reminded that one cannot happen without the other. 

“When you create a problem for people to move across the border from one side to another, then you have closed the border to people and goods,” he said.

“If there are difficulties going on by trade not going on across the border...when you have people who get arrested when they cross the border, that affects the movement of people, of goods and trade,” Kagame added.

In the build-up to the MoU, the two leaders, together with their regional counterparts, discussed the underlying issues, concerns and potential ways to address them.

“We had the opportunity to broadly and extensively discuss many issues as we understood them, which underlined this problem, hence the MoU we have reached today which stipulates the path to follow as we continue to try to resolve this problem,” he revealed.

Kagame thanked the Presidents of Uganda and DRC for their involvement, commitment and attitude to finding solutions.

The agreement, among other things, calls for refraining from engaging in actions that destabilize the other party (or actions perceived to) such as financing, training and infiltration of destabilizing forces.

The agreement also calls on both countries to protect and respect the rights and freedoms of nationals of the other party residing or transiting in their national territory.

Cross-border activities, including the movement of persons and goods is also expected to resume.

 A commission for the implementation of the MoU is also expected to be established. The commission will include a minister for internal administration and heads of intelligence.

“This Memorandum of Understanding is expected to take effect immediately upon signature,” reads part of the statement.

Angola in July this year committed to serving a mediatory role with the assistance of DR Congo between Rwanda and Uganda following the arbitrary imprisoning of Rwandans in Uganda and the proof that emerged of Kampala’s backing and propping up groups hostile to Rwanda, including RNC and FLDR.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

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