Egypt will provide a protection force to help South Sudan restore peace, a decision that has been welcomed by Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni.
After bilateral talks Sunday with visiting Egyptian leader Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Museveni hailed the decision, saying that unlike Uganda, the north Africans do not share close border ties with South Sudan and would, therefore, not be accused of bias in the situation.
Museveni called on the Egyptian government to discourage the United Nations Security Council’s policy of putting sanctions on South Sudan, saying that sanctions cause a vacuum in leadership.
The UN Security Council on Friday extended the mandate of its peacekeeping mission in South Sudan for a year, demanding an end to the fighting as the war entered its fourth year.
After days of tough negotiations, the council unanimously adopted a US-drafted resolution that extends the mandate of the 14,000-strong UNMISS force to December 2017.
During Sisi’s visit, a memorandum of understanding on political consultations between Uganda and Egypt was signed. Before the Egyptian President concluding his visit to Uganda, he was hosted to a luncheon by Museveni at State House, Entebbe.
Sisi hails Museveni
Egypt’s Abdel Fattah el-Sisi ended his one-day visit by commending Museveni for his role in bringing peace to Uganda and the African continent as a whole.
President el Sisi who had earlier in the day jetted in Uganda and received by his host at Entebbe International Airport, noted that there was need to address regional challenges such as terrorism and extremism which he said threaten the stability of East Africa, North Africa and Africa as a continent.
“Terrorism is threatening the sovereignty of countries. We need to stop the plague of extremism and make sure it does not have a negative impact on our development,” he stressed.
On the issue of ensuring stability in Africa, Sisi said that Egypt supports the work of the transitional government of South Sudan and would desire to be part of the regional protection force.
President Sisi also called for increased trade between Uganda and Egypt. A joint Permanent Commission is slated to meet and see how to boost trade between Uganda and Egypt.He said his government would collaborate with Uganda in many sectors including irrigation, livestock framing and electricity among others.
A memorandum of understanding on political consultations between the two was signed.
Museveni warns on sectarianism
President Museveni urged the government of Egypt to resist sectarianism, which he said is responsible for the rise of extremism in the world.
“When President Mohammad Morsi came here, I told him his project of Muslim Brotherhood was dangerous for Egypt. In Uganda, we do not look at religion and tribe but citizenship,” he said.
Regarding the River Nile, President Museveni said that the government of Uganda would take strict measures to ensure the conservation of River Nile so that Egypt, which relies on it solely for water supply, would not be affected.
“The problem of the Nile is too much agriculture. The Chinese brought the culture of growing paddy rice in the wetlands which wetlands need to be left alone and used sustainably,” he said.
He added that the Nile Basin countries should also develop a highway along the Nile, in order to enable land locked countries like Uganda, South Sudan and Ethiopia, to reduce the distance to Europe and to the Port of Alexandria.
Turning to investments, Museveni thanked the Egyptian government for sending its private sector players to invest in Uganda and promised to support them. He encouraged Egyptian investors to build warehouses so that Egyptian products do not only appear on the Ugandan market during the trade fairs only.