By Yoweri Museveni
President Yoweri Museveni last week hosted the Iranian President Dr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on a two-day state visit. Below is his speech
YOUR Excellency, I welcome you and your delegation to Uganda. Your predecessors, Hashemi Rafsanjani and Mohammad Khatami visited Uganda in the past. I have visited Iran four times. It is, therefore, good that you came to visit us this time. It gives us a chance to review our bilateral relations which are always excellent.
We salute the independent foreign policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran. We also salute the transformation that has taken place inside Iran since the advent of the Islamic Republic in 1979.
The issue of nuclear programmes of Iran is very much in the news these days. Our position has got two elements on this issue:
First of all, it is the right of all countries in the world to access nuclear technology for peaceful purposes such as the generation of electricity, medical uses, etc. Ugandaâ€™s electricity potential on the Nile River and its tributaries is about 5,000 megawatts. We may get some power from our newly discovered petroleum and gas.
All this, however, cannot satisfy our energy needs. Where will the rest of our energy needs come from? All the African Rivers have a potential of about 300,000 megawatts (with installed capacity of just 21,000 megawatts). This is for the present population of one billion people of Africa, soon to reach 1.3 billion people by 2025. The US, with only 316 million people currently uses 1,067,010 megawatts. Possibly, there is wastage in the USâ€™s usage of electricity.
Nevertheless, the magnitude of the electricity required is great. What energy source will provide this magnitude of electricity for Africa? Solar, wind, etc., sources of energy are still very expensive per kilowatt hour. Therefore, the use of nuclear energy for electricity is a right for all countries. All countries of the world should cooperate in this. It is also good for the environment.
The second element of our position is that nuclear weapons are dangerous for humanity â€” even more dangerous than all the other previous weapon systems. We should, therefore, work for a nuclear weapons-free world. This means that those who have these weapons should work to get rid of them under an internationally agreed and verifiable Treaty and that those who do not possess them should not seek to acquire them.
Those weapons were developed at the height of imperialist madness, greed, egocentrism and criminality when some groups were trying to consolidate world domination and colonialism and new imperialist aspirants, such as Germany and Japan, were seeking to re-divide the colonial possessions in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean.
Here, we salute the people of the Soviet Union who bore the brunt of this imperialist madness and contributed decisively to the defeat of the NAZI regime in Germany.
The imperialist criminality collapsed soon after this inter-imperialist war, following on the First World War. The anti-colonial Movements in Asia, Africa and the Caribbean, taking advantage of the inter-imperialist conflicts and support from the socialist countries, triumphed and expelled the imperialists. Therefore, the results of that criminal scheme should be done away with.
Proliferation, therefore, is moving in the wrong direction because action always breeds reaction. This possible chain-reaction that takes us away from the ideal of a nuclear weapons-free world should be avoided by all peace-loving people.
The possession of these means of mass destruction and murder is the greatest cause for the proliferation of nuclear weapons.
I salute those who possess nuclear weapons but have started talking of a nuclear weapons-free World.
Uganda is ready to cooperate with Iran in all fields. Iran belongs to the Gulf and Central Asia region.
We are right in the heart of the huge African Continent. It is 51/2 hours from Alexandria in Egypt and 51/2 hours to Cape Town in South Africa. We can compliment each other in development and trade. Let our respective Ministers do the needful in this respect.
In the Middle East Uganda supports the two States solution i.e. Israel and Palestine â€œliving side by side, within internationally recognised and secure bordersâ€ as agreed to by the relevant UN Security Council resolution.
According to the Bible, there were seven tribes of Canaan (present day Israel and Palestine). These were: Canaanites, Amorites, Hittites, Girgashites, Hivites, Perizzites and Jebusites. Then, Ibrahim, the Jew, came from Ur in present day Iraq and also started living in the same area.
The Middle Eastern tribes could learn a little bit from the African tribes. Our philosophy is to live and let live. I, for instance, do not eat fish, pigs, mutton, chicken, etc., on account of my indigenous customs. However, I am the greatest promoter of these foods for the other Ugandans that like them.
When I was in Iran, I told you about the reference to the â€˜Persians and Mediansâ€™ in the Bible. I now give you the exact portions of the Bible where they are referred to. It is in the books of Esther (1:14), Daniel (6:12) and Exodus (chapters 13 and 23). To provide you with a permanent reference, I present to you a copy of the Bible.
Again, I salute Your Excellency.
I now propose a toast to the good health of His Excellency Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and friendly people of Iran.
Thank you so much.