Kigali, Rwanda | XINHUA | The 11th Joint Permanent Commission between Rwanda and Uganda on Wednesday met in Kigali, Rwanda’s capital, aimed at discussing areas of cooperation between the two neighboring countries, the first such forum since the normalization of relations.
The three-day meeting signaled that both sides are committed to ongoing efforts to revitalize relations as well as deepen trust, according to the Rwandan Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
“The 11th JPC between Rwanda and Uganda is a milestone in bilateral cooperation as it demonstrates the renewed commitment that both countries have embarked on to revive historical cooperation,” said Shakilla Umutoni, the director general of Africa at the ministry, while opening the meeting.
The commission was revived in September 2022 during a meeting between Ugandan and Rwandan senior government officials in Uganda.
The meeting will also discuss areas where more efforts are needed to strengthen partnerships in the implementation of joint projects, according to officials.
Wednesday’s meeting was preceded by a bilateral technical meeting on trade held Tuesday to identify available opportunities and challenges faced by the cross-border business community in both countries.
Elly Kamahungye, director of regional and international affairs at Uganda’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told the audience that both sides at the technical meeting were able to find the best ways of resolving issues to facilitate the smooth flow of goods and services between the two countries.
“We remain committed to the ongoing process of consultations and discussions and urge both Ugandan and Rwandan officials to remain flexible, dedicated and create the required conducive environment for business to thrive,” he said.
Rwanda is hosting the 11th Joint Permanent Commission between Rwanda and Uganda. This three-day meeting starting today, will assess the implementation status of the 10th JPC and strategic areas of cooperation between the two countries. pic.twitter.com/ig8TZipfYG
— Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Int'l Cooperation (@RwandaMFA) March 22, 2023
The Standard Gauge Railway, one of the Northern Corridor Projects supposed to connect Kenya’s Mombasa port to Kigali, through Kampala, and the regional refined petroleum products pipeline are some of the key regional projects that the two countries had committed to jointly implementing before political tensions developed.
Kamahungye told the meeting that Uganda hoped that the forum in Kigali could be used to “see how together we can contribute in reviving the Northern Corridor Projects.”
Rwanda reopened its border with Uganda in 2022 which had been closed in February 2019 after political differences spiraled between the two East African neighbors. ■