New Vision (Kampala)

Uganda: Sudan, Uganda Officials Meet to Diffuse Tension

Photo: Voxcom/IRIN
Some of the LRA soldiers sit outside, Sudan, April 2007.

Ugandan and Sudanese officials have held several meetings and exchange visits since November last year to diffuse the diplomatic tensions between the two countries.

Ambassador James Mugume, the ministry of foreign affairs Permanent Secretary Thursday said that the exchanges are at three levels that involve Chiefs of Defence, Permanent Secretaries as well as a Joint Ministerial Commission.

Mugume said that Sudanese chiefs of defence came to Uganda in November last year, and another meeting took place in February this year in the Burundian capital Bujumbura.

Media reports had indicated that the Intelligence Chief Brig. Charles Bakahumura had travelled to Khartoum. However efforts to verify the information with Brig. Bakahumura did not yield because he was not answering his phone.

Ambassador Mugume said the proposal by the Khartoum regime to expel Ugandan diplomats should not be an attractive option because Uganda could implement retaliatory measures by expelling the Khartoum envoy in Uganda.

Sudan has previously accused Uganda of harboring anti-Khartoum rebels planning to overthrow the regime of President Omar Bashir. However, Uganda says Khartoum which has been accused of supporting the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), is attempting a cover up and to justify its support for Joseph Kony.

Khartoum has also lodged complaints with African Union (AU) and other regional blocs against Kampala saying the latter is supporting groups to overthrow President Bashir who is wanted by the ICC.

Last month, the speaker of the Sudan's national assembly Ahmed Ibrahim al-Tahir disclosed that Khartoum is working with forces in Uganda opposed to President Yoweri Museveni to bring about "positive political influence." The foreign affairs minister Sam Kutesa said that if Sudan continues supporting forces opposed to the Uganda Government, they would be defeated.

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