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Rwanda – Uganda Commit To Resolve Remaining Border Issues

by Daniel Sabiiti
11:39 pm

Ambassador Julius J. Kivuna(L) from MoFA Uganda receiving a gift from Permanent Secretary in Rwanda’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Clementine Mukeka

The second high-profile cross-border security meeting between Rwanda and Uganda has agreed to continuously work on efforts to rebuild and further improve the previous relationship that was stifled five years ago.

The resolutions come at a time when both East African Member States and neighbors- who share deep historical, cultural and economic ties, have stepped forward to create a new path of cooperation following a stifled relation in 2019 that witnessed borders of both sides closed for three years

Both sides have slowly been working closely to restore that previous glory days and this was given the first steps when Rwanda and Uganda officials met in Kabale, Uganda at the first security meeting of its kind that was held in December 2023.
The meeting agreed on starting on this journey which has seen borders physically opened for free movement but with some restrictions on trade and unaddressed concerns on both sides.
In the light of this remaining bottlenecks the Nyagatare meeting hosted by Clementine Mukeka, the Rwanda Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary and Ambassador Julius J. Kivuna, the Head for Regional Peace and Security Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs-Uganda agreed on a way forward.
“The two countries welcomed the continuous efforts to provide a platform for fruitful dialogue and cooperation,” an official communique released after the meeting read in part.
The one-day meeting which opened on May 6, 2024 in Nyagatare district,  Eastern Rwanda brought together security officials, immigration, health and local government officials from both countries.
The meeting further commended the progress made in achieving the recommendations of the previous meeting and urged both countries to ensure the full implementation of the new resolutions taken.
Commenting on the existing bottlenecks especially in cross-border trade, PS Mukeka said that there is need to look at practical, technical challenges faced at the border and look at how these can be integrated, either through simplified trade regimes or all regimes in place.
“But the most important is to work together, look at immediate challenges that are faced and resolve them at the border,” Mukeka told KTpress in a media interview.
Ambassador Julius J. Kivuna told the media briefing that the existing challenges at the two borders (trade, smuggling, human trafficking among others) can be resolved and luckily their technical teams are working closely to resolve them.
“They (technical teams) have modalities. They are constantly meeting, constantly communicating and constantly coordinating between them. As their senior leaders, ours is to encourage them more to meet more, coordinate more,”  Kivuna said.
Kivuna noted that there has been improved smooth operations at the borders and this as a result of Joint Permanent Commissions (JPC) between the Republic of Rwanda and Uganda- which are held every two years and resolutions implemented by technical teams that have now met twice.
The most recent JPC (11th) was held in Kigali, from 22-24 March 2023 and it assessed the implementation status of strategic areas of cooperation between the two countries.
“We want to make these meetings more frequent, because the more we meet, the more we iron out these challenges at a very early opportunity. So, we are looking forward to even the third meeting because this is a Mechanism that solves our problems,” Kivuna said.

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