Rwanda and Uganda initial Memorandum

Museveni and Kagame expressed their interest in normalizing relations between the two states.

Museveni shakes hands with Kagame in Luanda today. The meeting was hosted by Angola Presidents Joao Lourenco. PHOTO PPU

 

Rwanda and Uganda initial Memorandum of Understanding in Luanda

Luanda, August 21, 2019 (Agência Angola Press) – The Presidents of Rwanda Paul Kagame and Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni initialed a bilateral Memorandum of Understanding in Luanda on Wednesday to end the border conflict between the two countries.

The terms of the agreement reached with the mediation of Angola’s Heads of State, João Lourenço, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Felix Antoine Tshisekedi, were not announced.

Speaking to the press, both Statesmen Yoweri Museveni and Paul Kagame expressed their interest in intensifying cooperation to pacify and normalize relations between the two states.

On the basis of the understanding reached, following the steps taken by Angola and the DRC, it was decided at the penultimate four-party summit (July 2019) to prioritize the settlement of any dispute between their respective countries by peaceful means, through conventional channels and in the spirit of brotherhood and African solidarity.

The two countries accused each other of supporting espionage, sabotage, political and economic instability, which caused much tension at the common border.

Peace and Security Mediation

In his turn, the Angolan head of state considered the ceremony very important for peace and security in the region and that results from the free will of Presidents Yoweri Museveni and Paul Kagame to end a dispute that seemed to be difficult.

João Lourenço urged the parties to honor the commitment signed in the interest of their countries, peoples and economies, as well as to promote a peaceful and brotherly relationship between them.

For his part, Congo’s Head of State Brazzaville and Acting President of the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region, Denis Sassou Nguesso, underlined that the understanding reached proves the African ability to solve their own problems by promoting dialogue and peace.

The President of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Félix Tshisekedi, said that there was no time for wars but to promote the development and welfare of the peoples of the continent.

Tshisekedi took the opportunity to report that a representative government could be formed later this week by 7 September.

Description of source: News agency owned by the government of Angola covering domestic and international politics, technology, science, sports, economy, education, society and tourism. Country of origin: Angola
© Copyright 2019, ANGOP – Angola Press Agency

 

Causes of the conflict that engenders the Luanda agreement

Angola will host a four-party summit on Wednesday, which will bring together Presidents João Lourenço, Félix Tshisekedi, Paul Kagame and Yoweri Museveni who will witness the signing of an agreement aimed at ending the current military tension along the common border between Rwanda and Uganda since last March.

Luanda, August 21, 2019 (Agência Angola Press) – Rwanda and Uganda have reached an agreement in this regard, through mediation by Angola, assisted by the Democratic Republic of Congo, according to a note from President João Lourenço’s Civil House, published Saturday, August 17, 2019.

Wednesday’s meeting follows another one, also organized in the Angolan capital, on 12 July, with the same heads of state.

At the time, the leaders of the Great Lakes Region addressed the issues of regional security, cooperation and the strengthening of links between the four countries, within the framework of multilateral consultation mechanisms.

There is no doubt that the central issue of the new Luanda meeting is the resolution of the latent conflict on the border between Rwanda and Uganda, which threatened to ignite that African region once again, an act that will be closely followed by observers interested in the definitive stabilization of that region of the continent, which has been experiencing armed conflict for several decades.

The causes of the conflict between Rwanda and Uganda

The old rivalry between Rwandan and Ugandan leaders intensified with the publication in December 2018 of a UN expert report on the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), suggesting that the armed branch of Plateforme Cinq (P5), a coalition of Rwandan opposition groups, was training and arming itself in Uganda, Burundi and the DRC.

According to the document, the movement that has existed since 2014 is allegedly led by General Kayumba Nyamwasa, former senior officer of the Ugandan Army, and also former chief of staff of the FPR (Rwanda Patriotic Front).

Unlike others, such as the Interahamwe (FDLR), P5 is supposed to consist mostly of former FPR officers in power in Rwanda, elements of the Security and the Rwandan Armed Forces, who previously served the Ugandan Army, such as Paul Kagame.

On the pretext of a border incident, which led to the death of a Rwandan and a Ugandan in March, Paul Kagame closed the border between the two countries, blocking the trade route, which is essential for the movement of people and goods in the region.

President Kagame also accused Yoweri Museveni of collaborating with the Rwandan opposition and the Hutu rebels to want to destabilize his regime.

For his part, Museveni accuses Kagame of espionage in Uganda, and of killing his political opponents in Ugandan territory.

This is how the armies of the two countries deployed along the common border, and tensions rose last May when Uganda protested against the incursion of Rwandan forces into the city of Rukiga.

Rwanda denied it, claiming that it was chasing a group of smugglers who had crossed its border illegally.

Stephanie Wolters, journalist and principal investigator at the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) in Pretoria, considers that the two countries are aware that an open war between them would be a catastrophe for populations, stability in the Great Lakes Region, and economic development in East Africa.

Rwanda and Uganda know each other’s methods well, but generally they have always been on the same side, writes the journalist, concluding that the current tension between the two countries demonstrates that the Great Lakes have failed to find a solution to one of the major causes of instability, which is the regionalization of national political conflicts.

For intellectuals, instability in that African region is fuelled by the dynamics of repressive political environments, the reluctance of governments to sign political agreements with their opponents, the exploitation of these by regional bodies, the inability of various countries to control their territories and their borders, as well as by secondary elements such as illegal economic activities.

It is important to remember that in March 2013, 11 member countries of the International Conference for the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), supported by the UN, signed the Peace, Cooperation and Security Mechanism in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), after the defeat of the M23.

These countries are Angola, Burundi, DRC, Congo-Brazzaville, Sudan, South Sudan, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania and Zambia.

But a few years later, the document fell into total oblivion, keeping the region in a continuous “status quo”.

The Mechanism, in addition to having imposed a set of internal reforms on the DRC, on the other signatory countries recommended not to support negative anti-government movements in the region. The latter is still not respected, leading to the current conflict between Rwanda and Uganda.

Paul Ntaluya, of the Centre for Strategic Studies of Africa, in an article entitled “The escalation of tensions between Uganda and Rwanda raises the fear of war”, published on 26 July last, proposes that, in order to emerge from the crisis, neutral international actors must help the parties to negotiate. This is exactly what Angola is doing.

Angola, by defending peace, and taking into account its neutrality and its experience in conflict resolution, is using its influence within the ICGLR framework to find a solution that will make all member states live in peace and stability. That is what is going to happen on Wednesday.

By João Gonçalves

Description of source: News agency owned by the government of Angola covering domestic and international politics, technology, science, sports, economy, education, society and tourism. Country of origin: Angola
© Copyright 2019, ANGOP – Angola Press Agency

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