Regional leaders who gathered in Angola on Friday agreed to amicably settle grievances among states, a decision that could deescalate tensions between Uganda and Rwanda.
At the invitation of Angolan President, Joào Manuel Lourenco, a quadripartite meeting was held in the Capital Luanda among President Museveni of Uganda, Rwanda’s Paul Kagame and Felix Antoine Tshisekedi of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
According to a joint communique, the four leaders agreed to “Prioritize the resolution of any dispute between their respective countries by peaceful means through conventional channels and in the Spirit of African brotherhood and solidarity.”
The statement didn’t provide details but officials said it meant leaders must resolve outstanding problems politically and avoid situations that could lead to an armed conflict.
Uganda and Rwanda have for long teetered on the verge of war over alleged espionage and support for rival armed movements operating in DRC.
The meeting came after Rwanda and DRC conducted military operations in South Kivu, capturing leaders of a Rwandan rebel movement.
The meeting in Luanda followed the Tripartite Summit held in Kinshasa on 31st May 2019 between the Heads of State of Angola, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo.
Lourenco would later dispatch a special envoy to meet Museveni in Kampala.
During the Friday Summit, all four Heads of State reviewed the general situation in the sub region as well as the need for strengthening of cooperation among the four countries.
According to the joint communique seen by ChimpReports, the meeting was conducted in a “cordial climate of fraternity.”
The leaders further resolved to continue to pay “particular attention to the creation of a climate conducive for fostering cooperation between respective countries in areas of common interest including in the Political and Economic spheres.”
Observers say tensions between Uganda and Rwanda can be deescalated if they step up diplomatic engagements and resolve economic disputes including closure of the Gatuna border by Rwandan authorities.
Both countries look at their each other’s military deployments at the border with suspicion.
Uganda has in recent months stepped up training of special forces including paratroopers, raised millions of dollars to modernize the Airforce and mechanized units and mobilized battle-hardened war veterans as a precautionary measure.
Internal security has been strengthened with army officers taking charge of police, immigration and intelligence units.
On the other hand, Rwanda has conducted and widely publicized its military training exercises and deployed heavy artillery on her border with Uganda.
In Luanda leaders also decided to support the efforts by the Government of DRC in the process of dealing with the outbreak of Ebola and committed to work together to prevent the further spread of the epidemic.
The Rwandan presidency said the summit “stressed the importance of permanent, frank, open multilateral and bilateral dialogue for the consolidation of peace and security in the region and as a premise for economic integration.”
The leaders also agreed to continue their consultations on issues of mutual interest.