16 March 2017

Uganda: Boris Invites Museveni to UK Summit On Somalia

Photo: Daily Monitor
President Yoweri Museveni.

Entebbe — President Museveni, is on May 11 scheduled to travel to London to attend a high level conference organised to drum up support and humanitarian assistance for the war ravaged Somalia.

The invite to 'London Conference on Somalia' was delivered yesterday by the visiting United Kingdom Foreign Secretary, Mr Boris Johnson. The summit is a follow up to the earlier-one held in 2013.

At a joint press conference at State House, Entebbe, Mr Boris, revealed that he [the president] had "accepted to come to London" to attend the summit.

"This morning I was in Mogadishu (Somalia capital), where while inspecting the guard of honour I saw several Ugandan troops as part of the forces. We really appreciate your steadfastness in peace building in Somalia," Mr Boris remarked

Uganda's national army, the UPDF, have been praised for taking a lead role in pacifying Somalia after almost two decades of political anarchy.

The government deployed troops to Somalia in 2007, and currently maintains the largest peace keeping force of 6,000 in Somalia under AMISOM. Other countries contributing troops to AMISOM include Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya and Djibouti. The Mission is funded by the European Union (EU) and United Nations through trust funds, respectively.

However, the EU recently announced plans to roll back support to AMISOM citing competing priorities the regional bloc is grappling with and further pleaded with the international community to fill the gap. EU said it was cutting the soldiers' pay by 20 percent.

The UK's top diplomat touched down at Entebbe airport at about 7:30pm from Somalia, and was received by Foreign Affairs minister Sam Kutesa.

Before the press conference, the two principals held closed door meeting which was attended attended by among others Mr Kutesa, Attorney General William Byaruhanda and Security minister Henry Tumukunde.

During the meeting, President Museveni, said they largely discussed trade between Uganda and UK recently divorced from the European Union and all reversal attempts have so far encountered a headwind, Somalia, "and other hotspots on the African continent."

While in Somalia earlier on, Mr Boris met with the newly elected Somali President Abdullahi Farmaajo and Prime Minister Hassan Khayre for discussions among others on how to solidify the political transition, security and the famine and drought currently ravaging desert country.

The World Health Organization (WHO) warned last month that the country was at risk of its third famine in 25 years. The agency said more than 6.2 million people - almost half the population - needed urgent humanitarian aid, including three million who are starving.

From Uganda, Mr Johnson is said to be heading to Kenya.

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