Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame and Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni on Wednesday signed a Memorandum of Understanding meant to put an end to the border crisis, after several months of tension.
The agreement was signed in Angola’s political capital Luanda during a mini-summit.
According to the agreement, Uganda and Rwanda will resume cross border activities. The agreement adds that whatever was agreed upon takes immediate effect.
The MoU was witnessed by the host President João Lourenço, President Félix Tshisekedi of DR Congo, and President Dennis Sassou Nguesso of Congo Brazzaville.
This is the third of such meetings for a way out of the Rwanda – Uganda border conflict. The first, in May, in Nsele, DRC, brought Presidents Paul Kagame, Joao Lourenço and Félix Tshisekedi together; its focus was on security in East Africa. After that another mini-summit was held in Luanda on July 12, in President Yoweri Museveni’s presence.
Commenting on the agreement, President Kagame reiterated that implementing the terms outlined in the MoU would be in the best interest for citizens of the two countries and their progress.
“We are not going to be found wanting in not only respecting the communique, but also our brothers who have brought us together to reach this understanding,” he said.
On free movement of people and trade, Kagame reminded that one cannot happen without the other.
“When you create a problem for people to move across the border from one side to another, then you have closed the border to people and goods,” he said.
On his part, President Yoweri Museveni thanked his Angolan counterpart, Joao Manuel Lourenco, for overseeing a reinforcement process that has culminated into Uganda and Rwanda signing a pact to improve their political and economic relations.
“I thank President Lourenco and Felix Tshisekedi of DR Congo for coming in so that we share the information we had and ensuring that we have a communiqué with Rwanda,” he said.
President Museveni noted that he was already in touch with Kagame to seek a resolution to the issues between the two countries when Presidents Lourenco and Tshisekedi invited him to this summit.
“I was already in touch with President Kagame through our own channels, but this came as a reinforcement. We are just re-affirming what we have always held as principles of the African Union,” he said during a media briefing at the plush gardens of the Presidential Palace in Luanda.
The tension between Rwanda and Uganda had grown in recent months, prompting fears that the row would threaten regional commerce and ensnare neighbouring countries.