The governments of Rwanda and Uganda have agreed to enhance their political consultations as part of the resolutions of the eleventh Joint Permanent Commission (JPC) held in Kigali.
Speaking at the open ministerial session on Friday, March 24, Minister of Foreign Affairs Vincent Biruta said: “We will have the opportunity to sign four important bilateral agreements in the areas of political consultations, immigration, mutual legal assistance, and judicial cooperation.”
The agreements are a testament to enhanced cooperation between the two countries and, according to Biruta, the business forum on the side-lines of the JPC will as well boost trade and investment.
“We have a unique opportunity to set a new course for our two countries, one that is based on mutual respect, cooperation, and a shared vision for the future…this is a demonstration of our shared commitment to finding solutions to the issues that have arisen between our two countries.”
The latest Commission signalled that both sides are committed to ongoing efforts to revitalize relations as well as deepen trust.
According to Uganda’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jeje Odongo, the closeness of both countries is also reflected in “the mutual support during liberation struggles, as well as the ease with which our peoples interact across borders.”
Odongo added: “There have been some difficulties but with the consensus reached by our leaders, progress has been made in normalizing relations. I am confident that through joint efforts, our excellent relations will continue to flourish in the years ahead.”
Odongo noted that the region continues to face challenges including terrorism by negative elements such as the Allied Democratic Front (ADF), the genocidal FDLR terrorist militia group, and others, based in eastern DR Congo.
He said: “The activities of armed groups active in eastern DR Congo is responsible for the current influx of a large number of refugees, with consequential pressure on our governments.
“Uganda remains committed to supporting regional initiatives that promote peace, security, and development of our region. In this regard, we look forward to close bilateral cooperation in the field of defence and security.”
The FDLR is a terrorist group formed by remnants of the perpetrators of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. It has, for nearly three decades, been actively operating in the DR Congo with the support of the Congolese government.
Faced with an M23 offensive, in May 2022, the Congolese army formed an alliance with multiple militia groups, including the FDLR.