Ugandan foreign affairs minister’s remarks at the opening of Rwanda, Uganda talks

Uganda's Foreign Affairs Minister speaks at the meeting in Kigali. (Photos by Emmanuel Kwizera)

Kigali, Sept. 16, 2019

We are here as ministers mandated by our leaders to operationalise the Memorandum of Understanding signed on the 21st of August 2019 in Luanda, Angola by implementing it.

The Memorandum of Understanding reinforces, as has been said, key African principles, one of which is African solutions to African problems.

The MoU also underlines the spirit of Pan-Africanism, which Uganda considers as a critical bedrock of our regional integration efforts and is vital to our economic, social and political progress.

Rwanda and Uganda are geographically linked as neighbours. Our two countries also have long and deep historical, economic and culture ties. We know from history, during the partition of Africa, new borders were put in place sowing new states which had no basis in culture, history or economics.

The artificial borders disrupted communities living along the border, separating clans and families, disrupting trade and pastoral routes.

What we now know as part of Uganda ended up Rwanda and part of Rwanda ended in Uganda.

Uganda in fact is home to people of Rwandese descent, Banyarwanda, who are constitutionally recognised as one of Uganda’s tribes.

What this tells us is that our people are interconnected and that the current state of our bilateral relations has affected them. They question and desire for better.

My delegation is, therefore, glad to be here because Uganda seeks openly cooperative and collaborative relations with Rwanda, like other neighbouring countries and states of the continent.

Honourable Ministers,

Our approach today should be viewed as part of an important process, and not an event.

The peoples of our two countries, more than anybody else, are anxious and need to see progress.

Therefore, we should consider immediate steps to normalise relations.

On behalf of my delegation, I wish to reaffirm that Uganda is committed on peaceful and friendly coexistence with Rwanda.

It is our expectation that this meeting will launch the process of normalisation of relations in a tangible way.

We also expect that we can agree on parameters and specific timelines for implementation of this Memorandum of Understanding.

Going forward, it is essential that every effort is made to de-escalate the build-up of tension between our two countries.

And, finally, I wish to reiterate the commitment of Uganda to implementing the Memorandum of Understanding and we look forward to working with Rwanda and the facilitators of Angola and DRC in its implementation.

I thank you for your kind attention!

Editor’s Note: Sam Kuteesa is the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Uganda.

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