Rwanda, Uganda stand off talks deferred to heads of state

A delegation of Rwanda and Ugandan officials failed to come up with concrete agreement to the tiff that has marred relations between the two nations.

The meeting held on Friday in Kampala came to an impasse after delegations from both countries failed to come up with a solution on key contentious issues.

On the table was a resolution to the presence of Ugandan forces within Rwanda as well as alleged illegal detention of Rwandans in Uganda.

According to Rwanda’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Regional Cooperation and EAC affairs Amb. Olivier Nduhungirehe, there was mutual trust and cooperation during the latest round of talks.

He however added that consultations with respective presidents was needed to clear contentious issues.

“We will consult our Heads of State & agree on way forward on different proposals that were put on the table especially from the Rwandan side. I hope that in the near future, we could have good faith and good will towards solving the issues we have,” Nduhungirehe said after the meeting.

This second meeting had aimed at easing growing tension between the two countries. It was coming nearly three months after they first met in Kigali in September, for what was thereafter supposed to be monthly meetings.

The meeting was also attended by ministerial delegations from Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo as facilitators.

Relations between the two countries have been frosty over the last few years but things got worse in 2017 after it became clear that Ugandan leaders were openly backing armed groups that seek to destabilize Rwanda.

A December 2018 UN Group of Experts report confirmed that Rwandan armed groups operating in eastern DR Congo were receiving recruits and supplies from Uganda.

Subsequently, Kigali broke the silence in March this year publicly accusing Uganda of facilitating recruitment of armed Rwandan groups, illegally arresting and torturing Rwandan nationals, and committing economic sabotage against Rwandan exports.

While Kampala denied all this, many Rwandans continued to disappear in Uganda and those who were finally released and dumped at the border with Rwanda have told of harrowing tales of torture and attempts to recruit them into armed Rwandan groups.