After 27 years of dormancy, Rwanda and the Republic of Congo yesterday renewed bilateral relations with the endorsement of several Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) scheduled for signing today.
The two countries entered the pacts during the second Joint Permanent Commission (JPC) meeting held in Kigali yesterday. The first session of JPC was last held in Kigali in August 1984.
The agreements will be signed by President Paul KAgame and his Congolese counterpart, Dennis Sassou N’guesso, who arrived in Kigali last evening.
The MoUs were endorsed by the foreign ministers of both countries.
During the meeting, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Louise Mushikiwabo, and her Congolese counterpart, Basile Ikouebe, resolved to move beyond “just signing” agreements but put them in action.
They include those related to correctional services, legal and judicial matters, air transport, trade exchanges, tourism, environment management and ICT development, among others.
In her remarks, Mushikiwabo expressed deep appreciation to both Heads of State for their commitment in revitalising the Rwanda-Congo JPC after almost three decades of stalemate.
“The outcomes of this JPC will be blessed by the two Heads of State which offers a unique moment,” she noted.
“These agreements signify the revival of excellent relations between our countries, and our government attaches great importance to the strengthening of bilateral relations between the two nations”.
During the JPC meeting, both countries agreed to cooperate in sensitising Rwandan refugees living in Congo to voluntarily return home before the cessation clause, slated for June next year, is invoked.
The JPC forum, attended by several ministers and officials from both countries, also agreed to embark on several joint programmes aimed at enhancing cooperation in security and defence services, energy, agriculture and livestock, education, sports, aquaculture, among other areas.
They also called for the amendment of the General Cooperation Agreement signed in Brazzaville in August 1982.
“These agreements portray the revival of cementing bilateral cooperation between Rwanda and Congo. We should put emphasis on the need to implement the decisions arising from these JPC sessions,” Ikouebe said.
He underscored the need to speed up the implementation process of those still lagging behind, adding that as the two countries take stock of the implementation, there was need for both to take action.