Rwanda to reopen border with Uganda after three-year standoff
Rwanda says it will reopen its land border with Uganda on Monday, signaling an easing of frosty relations fuelled by spying accusations and support for dissidents.
Rwanda will reopen the main Gatuna border post between the two countries on 31 January, the foreign ministry announced in a statement on Friday.
It closed the Gatuna-Katuna border in 2019, after accusing Uganda of abducting Rwandans and supporting rebels trying to topple President Paul Kagame.
Uganda rejected the accusation, blaming Rwanda of infiltrating its security agencies.
The reopening follows a round of intense diplomacy.
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni dispatched envoys including his son, Lt. Gen. Muhoozi Kainerugaba, to negotiate with Kagame.
Kainerugaba, who commands Uganda’s Land Forces, was in Rwanda on Saturday.
Earlier this week Museveni made key changes to his security apparatus, removing the chief of military intelligence who had been persistently criticized by Rwanda. The move appears to have placated Rwanda.
“Rwanda has taken note that there is a process to solve issues raised by Rwanda, as well as commitments made by the government of Uganda to address remaining obstacles,” the foreign ministry wrote on Twitter.
The closure of the border in February 2019 had a severe impact on trade links in the region.
Rwanda as Uganda’s fifth-biggest export market until the fateful border closing, selling around 160 million euros worth of goods, notably food, liquor and cement.
Uganda accused Rwanda of implementing an effective trade embargo, as it severed land access to export markets in Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi.
Attempts by Angola and the Congo to broker talks between Kagame and Museveni had failed.
Rwanda said it hoped the reopening would “contribute positively to the speedy normalization of relations between the two countries”.
There was no immediate comment from the Ugandan government, but it retweeted the Rwandan statement on its official account.
Rwanda to reopen borders with Uganda next week