LOUNDA – President Museveni has left for Angola ahead of talks with his Rwandan counterpart Paul Kagame.
At Entebbe airport on Sunday, February 2, 2020, the President was seen off by Presidency minister Esther Mbayo, Head Public Service John Mitala, Commissioner General of Prisons Johnson Byabashaija and Police Director Asan Kasigye representing the Inspector General of Police, among other officials.
The Angola talks are part in fulfillment of the Luanda protocol where the two countries pledged to end tensions through dialogue. At the talks, the stakeholders will review the August 2019 peace pact signed in the country. It will also be the second time the two presidents are meeting since August last year.
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.”
Despite the stalemate, officials from both sides are optimistic about a deal being struck between the two leaders.
Uganda’s permanent representative to the United Nations Ambassador Adonia Ayebare tweeted on Saturday morning that he was “In Angola to attend this important meeting”.
Rwanda’s Minister of State for East African Affairs Ambassador Olivier Nduhungirehe said “with good faith and resolve, we can end this crisis.”