KIGALI - Rwanda and Ethiopia yesterday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which will see the two countries strengthen their defence and military cooperation.
The MoU was signed by the Minister of Defence, Gen. Marcel Gatsinzi and his Ethiopian counterpart, Siraj Fegesa as well as the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Gen. James Kabarebe, and his Ethiopian counterpart, Gen. Samora Yunus.
The agreement will see the two countries strengthen defence and military cooperation in the area of training and education as well as sharing information on military operations and equipment.
Gatsinzi said that Rwanda and Ethiopia have shared a long history of cooperation in the areas of defence and that the new bilateral deal will cement the already existing ‘strong relationship’ the two nations have been sharing.
His Ethiopian counterpart said that his country is committed to maintain the long-lasting ‘sisterly’ relations the two countries have shared and that they will continue to work hand-in-hand to maintain high standards of stability and citizen protection.
“When the 1994 Genocide started, Ethiopia was the first country to respond and called upon the international community to react. We were also among the first to send soldiers here to intervene,” Fegesa said.
“This shows you that we have had a long history of brotherhood and we believe this MoU will further enhance the mutual understanding between ourselves as well as the mutual benefits that will come out of the bilateral cooperation”.
In an interview with The New Times, Brig. Gen Jean Bosco Kazura, the head of Training and Operations in RDF, said that Ethiopia and Rwanda have a cordial military relationship.
He revealed that cooperation has mainly been in the area of education and training as well several peacekeeping initiatives in which Rwanda is involved.
Last month, Ethiopia contributed five attack helicopters to the United Nations Mission in Darfur. The helicopters were much needed considering the fact that the mission is facing logistical challenges.