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No date yet for Rwanda-Uganda talks in Kampala


FILE PHOTO: Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Amb. Olivier Nduhungirehe and Uganda’s international affairs chief Sam Kutesa at the last meeting in Kigali. 

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The closure of the Rwanda-Uganda Gatuna border will continue for longer as the expected date for peace talks in Kampala about the issue passed quietly on October 16, 2019.

In a meeting, which took place on September 16, 2019 in Kigali Rwanda, both countries agreed to push the border issue to the next meeting in Kampala. The meeting was expected to take place after 30 days.

Nduhungirehe told Rwanda’s New Times that they were “waiting for invitation from Kampala.”

Dr. Isaac Shinyekwa, a research fellow on integration at the think-tank Economic Policy Research Centre, said the reluctance and delay to continue with talks shows the ground work was not sufficiently done.

He said, however, that he was hopeful that when people are talking, it is good and something may come out of that. He said we should be expecting that we move forward, backwards or stagnate.

Last month, in a communique, signed by Oliver Nduhungirehe, the Rwandan minister of State in charge of the East African Community and Sam Kutesa, the Ugandan minister of Foreign Affairs, both parties agreed that the issue of free movement of persons and goods and services across the common border and other outstanding issues shall be discussed in the next meeting in Kampala.

It has not happened. This week while speaking to BBC, President Yoweri Museveni said he would not want to discuss in the press what he is discussing with Paul Kagame, the President of Rwanda.

Rwanda closed its border to Uganda earlier in February this year and also blocked its nationals from crossing into Uganda saying their security could not be guaranteed while they were in Uganda.

The continuation of the talks was meant to operationalize the peace pact that Museveni and Kagame signed last month in Luanda, Angola easing tensions between Kigali and Kampala.

Both countries have seen trade between them plummet to near zero.

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