KAMPALA – The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has described as misleading reports that the government has not invited the European Union (EU) to observe the 2021 elections.
In a statement issued on Monday, November 23, 2020, the ministry said it has twice extended an invitation to all diplomatic missions and international organizations accredited to Uganda and interested in observing the 2021 elections. The EU is one of those Missions, it said.
“The Government of Uganda, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on 18 December 2019 and later on 3 July 2020, extended an invitation to all Diplomatic Missions and International Organizations accredited to Uganda and interested in observing the 2021 Elections. The EU is one of those Missions,” the ministry said in a statement.
The New Vision of 2 November 2020 and the Daily Monitor of 21 November 2020 carried stories quoting the European Union Head of Delegation, Amb. Attilio Pacifici, as saying that the EU was not invited to observe the 2021 Elections.
But the Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed concern and regret about the “misleading remarks” attributed to the EU Representative.
It said their July invitation was duly acknowledged by the Office of the EU Head of Delegation.
“The response to the invitation, dated 3 September 2020, indicated that the EU would conduct what they termed as a “Diplomatic Watching Exercise”. In addition, a list of EU diplomats to participate in the exercise was provided, including a request for their accreditation. Furthermore, in another Note dated 17 November 2020, the EU Mission provided an updated list of diplomats to participate in the Diplomatic Watching Exercise, and also sought accreditation of another three participants of the upcoming Electoral Expert Mission, once their names are confirmed in due course,” the statement adds.
The ministry said the Government of Uganda has been engaging with the EU at various levels, including at the highest level, during which meetings none of the issues being attributed in the press to the EU Representative were raised.
“The Ministry regrets that instead of using official channels, which remain open, Government is learning through the press about issues that may be of interest to the EU. Never the less, Government remains committed and ready to engage with the EU through formal channels on any matters that they may wish to raise,” it added.