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Rwanda, Uganda agree to fulfill six conditions before reopening border

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Rwanda’s Minister of State in charge of East African Community Affairs Olivier Nduhungirehe greets Uganda’s Foreign Affairs Minister Sam Kutesa in Kigali on, before the opening session of a meeting between officials of the two countries (PHOTO/Courtesy).

PML DAILY 16 FEB 2020

KIGALI — The governments of Uganda and Rwanda have agreed to fulfill six conditions that will end hostility between the countries and eventually reopen the border.

On Friday, senior government officials from Rwanda and Uganda met in Kigali, the capital of the former to continue efforts normalizing diplomatic relations between the two East African nations.

According to a joint statement released by both governments, number one on the list of resolutions is finding out how many nationals of either nation are detained in each other’s prisons.

“Both parties committed to further verify the number and the status of nationals of either party detained in each other’s country and to report back through a Note Verbale in a three-weeks time,” reads the statement that was signed of by Sam Kutesa, Uganda’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Olivier Nduhungirehe, Rwandan minister of state in charge of the East African Community.

Secondly, both nations are to protect and respect the human rights of nationals of either party.

It was also agreed that Kigali and Kampala finalize the Extradition Treaty. Extradition is the formal process of one state surrendering an individual to another state for prosecution or punishment for crimes committed in the requesting country’s jurisdiction.

This will be signed in presence of Presidents Yoweri Museveni (Uganda) and Paul Kagame (Rwanda) at the fourth Quadripartite Summit. It will be held in Gatuna/Katuna, the common border between Uganda and Rwanda on Feb. 21.

Additionally, the government of Rwanda will formally write to that of Uganda by February 15, notifying the latter about some specific issues related to the alleged destabilising activities carried out by Rwandan rebel groups from the Ugandan territory.

Uganda has to offer a response to the allegations by Feb. 20.

When the above undertakings are fulfilled, the two governments were asked to consider the normalisation of the activities and mobility of people and goods across the common borders between Rwanda and Uganda.

The border that links Rwanda and Uganda has been closed for close to a year now.

In December of last year, the Bank of Uganda said that after seven months of border closure, Ugandan traders had missed up to Shs400 billion in potential earnings.

Lastly, both parties agreed to resume the collaboration between their Defense and Security organs in order to improve the mechanisms of exchange of intelligence in the interest of their national security.

In the Kigali meet, Uganda was represented by Minister Kutesa, Minister Jeje Odongo (Internal Affairs), Attorney General William Byaruhanga, Director General of External Security Organisation Joseph Ocwet, High Commissioner of Uganda to Rwanda Oliver Wonekha, Col. Paddy Ankunda from the Ministry of Defense and Patrick Mugoya, Permanent Secretary at the Foreign Affairs ministry.

Rwanda was represented by ministers Nduhugirehe, Johnston Busingye (Justice and Attorney General), Prof. Shyaka Anastate (Local Government), Gen. Patrick Nyamvumba (Internal Security), High Commissioner of Rwanda to Uganda Gen. Frank Mugambage, Director General of External Intelligence in the National Intelligence and Security Service Col. [rtd] Anaclet Kalibata, Principal Private Secretary to the President Col. Patrick Karuretwa.

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