Roundup: Ugandan president calls for patience as border with Rwanda remains closed

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KAMPALA, Feb. 21 (Xinhua) -- Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni on Friday called for patience as his country's border with Rwanda remains closed for nearly a year.

Rwanda closed its border with Uganda in February last year, accusing the latter of incarcerating its citizens. Uganda denied the allegations and instead accused the neighbor of infiltrating into its security circles and incarcerating Ugandan citizens.

On Friday, Museveni and his Rwandan counterpart Paul Kagame signed an extradition treaty to ease tension at the 4th quadripartite meeting held at the Gatuna-Katuna border crossing between the two countries, with Angolan President Joao Lourenco and President Felix Tshisekedi of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) as facilitators.

Museveni told people on the Ugandan side that there are ongoing talks with Rwanda to have the border reopened, and that the truth about the strained relations would soon come out with the help of the independent facilitators from the DRC and Angola, according to a State House statement.

Despite Rwanda's allegation that some military members who disagree with the government are residing in Uganda, Museveni said that his country is not aware of such people on its territory and those who were arrested have been handed over to their original country.

Since Rwanda closed the border last year, cross-border trade and people movement have been affected. Following the deterioration of relations between Rwanda and Uganda, Angola and the DRC offered to facilitate talks to ease the tension.

Museveni and Kagame met in Angola's capital Luanda in August, where they signed a memorandum of understanding aimed at normalizing relations. In addition, an ad hoc commission, comprising ministers of foreign affairs and security officers from both countries, has held rounds of negotiations.

Since Jan. 8, Uganda has released 21 Rwandan nationals who were facing charges of espionage or illegal possession of ammunition. Uganda called the release a good gesture that needs reciprocation.

The talks have also led to Friday's extradition treaty, which defines a legal framework to handle alleged subversive activities by one's nationals on the other's territory.

According to a communique issued at the Friday meeting, the leaders agreed that Uganda shall within one month ascertain whether Rwandan dissidents were based in Uganda to prepare for subversive activities. If the allegation proves to be true, Uganda should take measures to prevent its territory from being used for subversive moves.

Once the measures are verified by the ad-hoc committee, a meeting will be called after 15 days to have the border reopened. Enditem

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