Rwanda-Uganda Meeting Postponed to November 18

Presidents Yoweri Museveni and Paul Kagame (file photo).
12 November 2019

The long awaited return meeting between senior Rwandan and Ugandan officials which was earlier set to be held this Wednesday in Kampala has been pushed to November 18, Monday next week.

The return meeting between Rwandan and Ugandan officials which was earlier set to be held this Wednesday in Kampala has been pushed to November 18, Monday next week.

When Rwandan and Ugandan officials met in Kigali, on September 16, it was then agreed that a follow-up meeting, to iron out the differences between both countries would happen 30 days later in Kampala.

However, October 16 came and passed.

A few days later, Ugandan media would report that the meeting had been moved to November 13th, but by then, Kigali said they had not received any letter to that effect.

On Tuesday, Olivier Nduhungirehe, the Minister of State in charge of the East African Community, said: "The date was postponed to 18th November because the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Angola would not have been there on 13th."

The September 16 Kigali meeting ended without a major breakthrough after both parties met in Kigali to review progress on the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding signed in Luanda, Angola, in August.

In the September meeting, the Rwandan delegation served their Ugandan counterparts with a list of Rwandan nationals who are illegally held in Uganda.

At the time, Nduhungirehe told the delegates at the joint Ad hoc Commission meeting that persistent arbitrary detention and torture of innocent Rwandans in Uganda was one of the issues that have undermined bilateral relations between the two neighbors.

Besides Rwanda and Ugandan delegates, the meeting in Kigali was also attended by ministers from Angola and DR Congo, the two facilitators.

Early this year, in March, Kigali issued an advisory on travelling to Uganda saying it could not guarantee its citizens' safety there after many were continuously rounded up and arrested and tortured without following due process.

In the September meeting, Uganda promised to verify information related to the Rwandans detained there.

Among others, the Kampala follow up meeting is expected to discuss issues of mutual concern such as the free movement of persons, goods, and services across the common border.

Kigali also accuses Uganda of aiding armed elements that seek to destabilize Rwanda. This is substantiated by a UN report released in December 2018.

The report confirmed that Uganda was a major source of recruits for Rwandan rebel outfits based in eastern DR Congo.

Two senior leaders of the FDLR militia arrested by Congolese authorities last year and transferred to Kigali confessed in court that they were seized as they returned from a meeting with Ugandan and RNC officials in Kampala.

Over the past weekend, on November 9, militia leader Gen Juvenal Musabyimana alias Jean-Michel Africa, the commander of RUD-Urunana was killed in an operation by security forces close to the border with Uganda in Binza, Rutchuru, in the DR Congo.

Sources have revealed that RUD-Urunana was created by Uganda's intelligence with the specific mission of destablizing Rwanda under the coordination of Uganda's Minister of State for Regional Affairs, Philemon Mateke.

In September, the Rwandan and Uganda delegations agreed on a number of issues of mutual concern, including Rwanda providing Uganda with a list of its nationals believed to be detained in Uganda and the latter committed to verify the information.

Sources then said the list contained 209 Rwandan nationals.

Both parties also agreed that due process will be followed in dealing with each other's citizens and they reiterated their commitment to refraining from any acts of destabilization against each other.

Kigali has also accused Kampala of being involved in acts of economic sabotage against Rwanda and called for "full and meaningful implementation" of the Luanda MoU.

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