Rwanda, Uganda in discussions to strengthen bilateral cooperation

On 1 September 2022 at 12:55

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Vincent Biruta has received his counterpart of Uganda, Gen Abubakhar Odongo Jeje for diplomatic and political consultations to strengthen bilateral cooperation.

Rwanda’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has revealed that the discussions took place on Thursday 1st September 2022.

The diplomatic and political consultations between the Ministers of Foreign Affairs is a continuation of the commitment of the Heads of State to further deepen and strengthen the cordial bilateral relations between the two sisterly countries.

They are held at a time when efforts to mend both countries’ relations are on good progress.

Rwanda, Uganda relations worsened since 2017 where Rwanda expressed concerns over Rwandans who travel to Uganda for business purposes but are abducted, imprisoned and tortured accused of being spies.

Rwanda also accused Uganda of hosting dissidents posing threat to national security.

In 2019, the Government of Rwanda closed Gatuna border and officially advised citizens against travelling to Uganda for their security following testimonies of over 1000 Rwandans tortured and deported from Uganda.

In August 2019, President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and his Rwandan counterpart, Paul Kagame signed a memorandum of understanding ‘Luanda Agreement’ in a bid to solve conflicts between both countries.

Negotiations did not yield expected results until efforts to mend Rwanda and Uganda relations took shape in February this year following the visits of Lt Gen Muhoozi, the first born son of Uganda’s President who also serves as the Senior Presidential Advisor on Special Operations and Commander of Land Forces of the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF).

Since he was involved in the process to restore relations to normal, Lt Gen Muhoozi has been warning Rwanda’s dissidents that they have no place in Uganda. He revealed that no official fighting Rwanda would retain job in Uganda.

Lt Gen Muhoozi also echoed similar message in February this year where he warned Rwanda’s dissident Kayumba Nyamwasa against using his country to threaten the neighbouring country’s security.

His first visit to Rwanda was on 22nd January 2022, a move that was followed by the reopening of Gatuna border.

Later on, Rwanda reopened all land borders on 7th March 2022.

Lt Gen Muhoozi visited Rwanda for the second time on 14th March 2022 where he held talks with President Kagame on pending issues affecting bilateral relations.

On the occasion of his birthday celebration in April this year, Lt Gen Muhoozi said that both countries currently have good relations with optimism that the situation would improve further in the future.

A joint statement released after the meeting held today, shows that both ministers acknowledged the ongoing progress made so far to normalize bilateral relations.

"They reiterated their commitment to focus efforts on the mutual regional security and development issues that impact on the socio-economic welfare of the peoples of the two countries," reads part of the statement.

The ministers also appreciated the leadership of Rwandan President Paul Kagame and his counterpart of Uganda, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni for their continued commitment to revive and strengthen bilateral relations.

Additionally, the ministers recognized President Kagame’s visit to Uganda and the subsequent Museveni’s visit to Rwanda during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM2022) as a strong signal toward renewed bilateral relations.

As the statement reads, the ministers exchanged views on regional matters relating to security, trade, investment and strategic regional projects.

Among others, they agreed to review and revive bilateral cooperation in the different areas of interest by convening the next Joint Permanent Commission between Rwanda and Uganda.

The ministers agreed that the next Joint Permanent Commission which will be hosted by the Republic of Rwanda by March 2023; will focus on critical areas taking into consideration the outcomes of the last Joint Permanent Commission.

Minister Biruta and his counterpart, Gen Odongo expressed gratitude for the steps taken to renew good and cordial relations between the two sister countries highlighting that they look forward to seeing the people of both Rwanda and Uganda enjoying the full benefits of the cordial relations.

Minister Biruta (right) exchanging greetings with his counterpart of Uganda.
Discussions between Minister Biruta and his counterpart of Uganda took place on Thursday 1st September 2022.
Both ministers have expressed gratitude for the steps taken to renew good and cordial relations between the two sister countries.