Rwanda closed its border on February 27, 2019, after it alleged that it wanted to stop its nationals from crossing to Uganda where they faced human rights abuses including detention without trial. Uganda has always insisted it didn’t close its side of the border and denied Rwanda’s allegations. Analysts however observed that Kigali’s move was aimed at preventing its nationals from joining a suspected rebel group, whose leaders they suspected to be based in Uganda.
Uganda’s business people and companies lost considerable amounts of money after trucks loaded with merchandise including fresh produce like food and milk, were blocked from advancing.
The peace pact was brokered by Angola’s President Joao Manuel Lourenco and D.R.C’s Felix Tshisekedi.
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.
Museveni made the comments while speaking in the Angolan capital Luanda, shortly after President Paul Kagame of Rwanda and himself signed a memorandum of understanding meant to resolve tensions existing between the two countries.
“I thank President Lourenco and 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.
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 leaders of Angola and DR Congo are the facilitators of the agreement whose signing began with a quadripartite summit on July 12th, where the four leaders met and agreed to begin a resolution process.
In the Luanda Agreement signed today, the Ugandan and Rwandan leaders agreed to respect each other’s sovereignty and of neighbouring countries.
They committed to refrain from actions conducive to destabilization or subversion in the territory of the other party or neighbouring countries and also eliminate all factors that may create such perception, as well as financing, training, and infiltration of destabilising forces.
The leaders will respect and protect the rights and freedoms of the nationals of the other party residing or transiting in their national territories, in accordance with laws of their countries.
The pact indicates that the two countries will resume cross-border activities, including movement of persons and goods.
The presidents also undertook, in the spirit of Pan-Africanism and regional cooperation, to comprehensively cooperate in politics, security, defence, trade, and culture.
To implement these resolutions, the leaders agreed to establish an adhoc commission headed by ministers of foreign affairs and composed of ministers of internal affairs/Administration and heads of intelligence, to see this through.
MUSEVENI, KAGAME COMMENDED
Addressing the media, host President Lourenco congratulated Presidents Museveni and Kagame for making the signing of the agreement possible.
“The signing alone cannot replace the problem,” he said. “The solution resides in the political will of the leaders to take full commitment to respect what they have signed and we are very certain they will do that.”
Co-facilitator President Tshisekedi was also full of praise for the two principals, calling them “great Presidents” who had seen the need to end the conflict and consider the superior needs of their nations.
President Dennis Sassou Nguesso of Congo-Brazzaville, who was chief guest by virtue of being chair of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region, said the agreement was a reflection of well-known African traditions of solving problems through dialogue.
Story from President’s Press Unit