LUANDA – President Yoweri Museveni and his Rwandan counterpart have agreed to hold the next round of talks at Gatuna/Katuna border on February 21, 2020 as part of efforts to mend relations between the two countries.
The two countries also agreed to refrain from actions that are perceived to be financing or supporting rebel or opposition groups seeking to overthrow each other.
These and others were agreed upon during the quadripartite summit held between the two leaders at the invitation of Joao Manuel Gonsalves Lourenpo, the President of the Republic of Angola, and witnessed by Felix Antoine Tshisekedi, the President of the Democratic Republic of Congo, in Luanda, Angola on Sunday, February 2, 2020.
The meeting was a follow-up of the Quadripartite Summits held in Luanda, on 12 July and 21 August 2019.
“The Heads of State exchanged views on strengthening their political, diplomatic, economic and cultural relations,” a communique from the meeting reads in part.
“The Republic of Uganda and the Republic of Rwanda have pledged to continue to prioritize the permanent dialogue between the two countries for the development and well-being of their peoples,” it added.
The meeting also resolved that both countries release people held over various crimes. It remains to be seen whether the leaders will stick to the agreement.
Since the August meeting, officials between the countries have held talks – one in Kigali in September and another in Kampala last December. However, the talks have not been enough to resolve the standoff over the border closure.
The border has remained closed and several Ugandans have been shot dead or injured for trying to cross into Rwanda through the various porous border points.
Kigali has continued to accuse Kampala of detaining her citizens and supporting armed groups that want to overthrow the administration there. This is despite Kampala recently releasing nine Rwandans accused of espionage and expecting Rwanda to reciprocate.
On Wednesday this week, Mr Kagame addressed diplomats in Kigali telling them that “he was not about to tell his citizens to return to Uganda because he has no control over their while in Uganda”.
“We have had hundreds of Rwandans arrested in Uganda. And we have raised this matter with Ugandan authorities. We have families of hundreds of families coming and appealing to us asking ‘why you don’t ask Uganda to release our people,” he said.
He told Rwandans “just stop going there because if you go there, I have no control. They may arrest you, and your families will come to me and say you have been arrested. And there is nothing I can do about it.”