Rwanda: Uganda-Rwanda Border Talks End in Stalemate

(file photo).

The virtual meeting of the ad hoc commission for the normalisation of relations between Uganda and Rwanda ended on Thursday evening without a position, especially on the opening of the Gatuna border point.

The meeting was the first of the commission since the fourth Quadripartite Heads of State Summit of President Museveni, Rwanda's Paul Kagame, Angola's Joao Laurenco, and DRC's Felix Tshisekedi on February 21 at the Katuna/ Gatuna border.

The meeting started around midday, according to diplomatic sources familiar with the matter, was supposed to pronounce itself on a tentative plan of reopening the border.

Foreign Affairs minister Sam Kutesa chaired the video conference meeting, also attended by Rwanda's delegation led by Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation minister Vincente Biruta, and DR Congo's Deputy Prime Minister Gilbert Kankonde Malamba, and Angola's minister for External Relations, Mr Tete Antonio.

"Uganda's stance in the meeting was that the border opens as the issues raised by Kigali are discussed further but which Rwanda vehemently shot down," sources told this newspaper on condition of anonymity as only Foreign Affairs Minister Kutesa is mandated to comment on the matter.

Ao draft communique from the meeting stated that it was subsequently resolved that both Kampala and Kigali continue exchanging information that will allow the verification of the allegations made as well as working towards the fulfilment of paragraph 4 and 5 of the Communiqué of the 4th Quadripartite Heads of State Summit that took place on February 21.

Earlier in the day, the Rwandan state broadcaster tweeted that "130 Rwandans currently held in Ugandan prisons are set to be released in the coming weeks, Uganda's Foreign Affairs minister Kutesa has told the 4th adhoc commission."

However, the communique also indicated that Kigali agreed to verify the list of Ugandans allegedly detained in Rwanda and requested Uganda to accord consular visits to the Rwandan nationals reportedly detained in Uganda.

The parties also committed to expedite the ratification of the Extradition Treaty and further reiterated their commitment to protect and respect the human rights of nationals of either party in observance of the rule of law and international humanitarian law and by ensuring due process.

".. parties agreed that political will is the cornerstone for normalisation of relations between the two countries and committed to continue to build upon the progress achieved thus far in the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding of Luanda, in a climate of mutual trust," the communique read in part.

Meanwhile, in a dramatic turn of events, diplomatic sources further intimated that Uganda's UN Permanent Representative Adonia Ayebare, whom President Museveni named as Special Envoy on normalisation of relations late last year, was locked out of yesterday's virtual meeting on directives of Mr Kutesa over yet unknown reasons.

Attempts to reach both principals for a comment were fruitless by press time.

President Lourenço of Angola in July last year brought Presidents Museveni and Kagame to the discussion table after months of frosty relations between the governments.


Frosty relations. President Lourenço of Angola in July last year brought Presidents Museveni and Kagame to the discussion table after months of frosty relations between the governments.

Membership. Uganda, Rwanda, and Angola are members of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region , a 12-member country body of states of the Great Lakes region.

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