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Minister calls for civility in Uganda-Rwanda impasse

Museveni and Kagame show off a peace MOU in Luanda Angola in August

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT  |  Minister of State for Regional Affairs Philemon Mateke has said outbursts will not solve the impasse between Uganda and Rwanda.

Mateke, who delivered an address at the Uganda Council of Foreign Relations on Thursday at Protea hotel, was tasked to explain what was going on between Kampala and Kigali in a room full of diplomats, including the USA outgoing Ambassador Deborah Malac.

Mateke could not explain what the problem is between Uganda and Rwanda but told diplomats that Uganda would like to handle the issue in a civil way despite deaths and loss of trade for the country. 

Mateke, who represented Foreign Affairs Minister Sam Kutesa, said Uganda and Rwanda were sisters and there was no other way to solve the issue other than talks. 

Responding to the diplomats who insisted on answers, Mateke said “What do you want us to do? Fight?” 

Uganda has positioned itself as a solver of conflicts in the Great Lakes Region and Africa as a whole. People wonder why a country with that record has failed to resolve its own misunderstandings with a neighbor. 

Rwanda closed its Gatuna border eight months ago, saying Uganda was sponsoring rebel groups to fight the Kigali administration. Uganda has rejected the accusation.

Mateke who was explaining Uganda’s focus on foreign policy said Uganda’s focus was on bilateral and multilateral relations. 

He said the country was a strong supporter of multilateralism because of the problems without borders including widespread poverty, human insecurity, organized crime and drug trafficking among others. 

The council holds annual lectures to discuss Uganda’s foreign policy status. 

Ambassador Francis Katana, the CEO of the council, said they will seek to bridge the gap between the public and the foreign policy practitioners. 



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