Rwanda to reopen its closed land border with Uganda
The move will take place at the end of the month after a three-year closure, signaling a thaw in the neighbors' relations.
Rwanda announced Friday that it will reopen its land border with Uganda at the end of the month after a three-year closure, signaling a thaw in the neighbors' relations.
The move comes after Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni's powerful son, General Muhoozi Kainerugaba, visited Kigali last weekend and pledged to restore ties with Rwandan President Paul Kagame.
The border was closed in February 2019 due to escalating political tensions between Kigali and Kampala, which harmed two-way trade.
The main Gatuna border post between the two countries will reopen on January 31, according to Rwanda's Foreign Ministry.
“The government of Rwanda remains committed to ongoing efforts to resolve pending issues between Rwanda and Uganda and believes that today’s announcement will contribute positively to the speedy normalization of relations between the two countries.”
Joint Rwandan-Ugandan work
Other land border posts between Rwanda and Uganda will also reopen, according to the statement, and health authorities from both countries will collaborate to put in place the necessary measures to facilitate movement in the context of COVID-19 preventive measures.
It stated that Rwanda is committed to ongoing efforts to resolve outstanding issues between the two countries and believes that reopening the border will contribute positively to the rapid normalization of relations between Rwanda and Uganda.
What happened between Rwanda and Uganda?
Rwanda closed its border with Uganda in February 2019, accusing Kampala of imprisoning its citizens. Uganda has denied the allegations, accusing Rwanda of infiltrating its security circles and also imprisoning its citizens.
According to experts, the border closure hampered trade and people's movement between the two countries. Rwanda had barred its citizens from entering Uganda through the common border post of Gatuna/Katuna, threatening them with arrest by Ugandan security forces.
Around seven months after the border closure, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and Angolan President Kagame met in the Angolan capital Luanda to try to defuse tensions.
The two leaders signed a memorandum of understanding, and an ad hoc committee of foreign ministers and security officers from both countries was formed.
The committee has met several times, and as a result, Uganda has released some Rwandan nationals accused of violating Ugandan laws.