LUANDA, Angola - Angolan President João Lourenço at the weekend expressed optimism that the Katuna border conflict between Uganda and Rwanda could “have better days” and said his country will attempt all measures to ensure cordial relations and stability between the two neigbouring countries.
“The agenda is short: security at the border between the three countries and relations between Rwanda and Uganda,” President Lourenço was quoted by Portuguese, Lusa News Agency.
Reports reveal that there have been broad security concerns along the border between Uganda, Rwanda and DR Congo. But there has also been a specific bilateral conflict between Uganda and Rwanda that resulted in the latter closing its borders with Uganda at Katuna and Chanika in February.
Speaking at the opening of the quadripartite summit at the presidential palace, High City Palace, in the Angolan capital Luanda on Friday, President Lourenço said: “We hope to solve all the problems of the Great Lakes, but many problems may have better days.”
The summit was attended by President Museveni of Uganda, his Rwandan counterpart Paul Kagame whose governments have been at loggerheads since early last year, and DR Congo’s Félix Tshisekedi.
The meeting kicked off with an open session, before the leaders went into closed doors for about three hours. A joint communiqué signed by Angolan Foreign Affairs minister Manuel Augusto indicated that the four presidents 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.”
Mr Augusto said the summit took place in a “climate of fraternity and perfect understanding.”
Diplomatic sources told local media, Daily Monitor that the summit was initially a DR Congo-Angola-Rwanda affair “to discuss issues of common interest”, but the plans to invite President Museveni were mooted in May following a meeting of the three presidents in the Congolese capital Kinshasa convened by President Tshisekedi.
Sources said Kigali views “Angola “as a neutral party.”
Uganda, Rwanda and Angola are members of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), a 12-member body of countries of the Great Lakes.