Kigali, Kampala sign deal to ease border tensions

President Paul Kagame of Rwanda and his Ugandan counterpart Yoweri Museveni have signed an extradition treaty as the two countries move to end tensions that have paralysed movement of people and goods across their common borders.

The signing, on Friday, was witnessed by President João Lourenco of Angola and President Felix Tshisekedi of DR Congo.

The treaty will act as a framework to handle cases of justice, including those related to alleged subversive activities by nationals of both countries in the territory of the other party, according to a communique released after the private talks at the 3rd Quadripartite Summit held at the Gatuna/Katuna border.

Uganda also agreed to, within one month, verify the allegations of Rwanda about activities in its territory by forces hostile to Rwanda. The communique reads:

“The Heads of State noted that since their last meeting, progress was registered, regarding the commitment of the two parties to do everything they can to eliminate the tension factors. In this regard, the release of prisoners from both sides and the guarantee to continue this process in observance of the Rule of Law and the international.

If these allegations are proved, Uganda will take all measures to stop it and prevent it from happening again.

This action must be verified and confirmed by the Ad-Hoc Ministerial Commission for the implementation of the memorandum of understanding of Luanda.”

The two leaders agreed that once this recommendation is fulfilled and reported to the Heads of States, the facilitators will convene within 15 days, at Gatuna/Katuna, for the solemn

reopening of borders and subsequent normalisation of the relations between the two countries.

In perhaps one of the strongest gestures towards the normalisation of ties between Rwanda and Uganda, the latter withdrew a passport issued to a dissident and member of the rebel group Rwanda National Congress (RNC), which Rwanda accused of operating within Uganda.

Rwanda had called for the cancellation of the passport of Charlotte Mukankusi, the RNC Commissioner for Diplomacy, who last year met President Yoweri Museveni.

In a subsequent letter to President Kagame, President Museveni said although he had met Ms Mukankusi, he declined to provide the support she was seeking.

Ugandan officials expect Rwanda to lift an embargo against its imports and also allow Rwandan citizens to resume travel to Uganda.

At the Luanda Summit of February 2, Presidents Kagame and Museveni also agreed to release and exchange nationals detained in either country.

By The Eastafrica

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