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Rwanda Not Hostile, Says Museveni

By Vision Reporter

Added 6th July 2001 03:00 AM

RWANDAN President Maj. Gen. Paul Kagame has said he is not aware of reports that Uganda is training and arming the Interahamwe militiamen fighting his government.

RWANDAN President Maj. Gen. Paul Kagame has said he is not aware of reports that Uganda is training and arming the Interahamwe militiamen fighting his government.

By Grace Matsiko RWANDAN President Maj. Gen. Paul Kagame has said he is not aware of reports that Uganda is training and arming the Interahamwe militiamen fighting his government. President Yoweri Museveni on the other hand said he does not consider Rwanda a hostile country. Addressing a joint press conference at Gatuna, on the Rwandan side of the border after a meeting with Museveni yesterday, Kagame distanced himself from statements that his government accused Uganda of training the Interahamwe. Museveni arrived at Gatuna at 9:22am Rwanda time (10:22am (E.A. time) in the company of the National Political Commissar, Mr. James Wapakhabulo, the minister for the Presidency, Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda and the Ndorwa West MP, Stephen Bamwanga. Kagame and Museveni immediately went into a red and white tent where they spent over two hours in private talks. Army MP Maj. Gen. Salim Saleh, who has been at the centre of mending ties between the two countries attended the meeting. Saleh travelled to Gatuna with Kagame from Kigali where he has been since Tuesday. The border point was closed during the talks. "I have no idea about that statement," Kagame said when asked about Rwanda saying Uganda was training Interahamwe. The Rwandan Government spokesman, Joseph Bidere, said the statement was issued by the foreign affairs ministry. A statement from Rwanda State House said, "Kagame said all these and other accusations and counter-accusations have today been addressed in their bilateral talks and that a framework has been established to address any such problematic issue that may arise in future." Museveni said a joint communiqué "resolved the issue of Uganda regarding Rwanda as a hostile country. That issue of the letter by Minister Muruli Mukasa (for security) to the Speaker of Parliament was over dramatised. The letter did not say Rwanda was a hostile country. It only said there were unresolved issues and the letter did not think it was right for the political groups to get funds from Rwanda." He added, "The letter did not regard Rwanda a hostile country. In any case it was for elections and the elections are over." Kagame and Museveni said they discussed the recent defections of Col. Samson Mande and Lt. Col. Anthony Kyakabaale to Kigali where the two officers were quoted in the press as saying they would wage war against Uganda. There is also an undisclosed number of Rwandan military officers in Uganda. "We have agreed as normal practice they (officers) can't be returned home but they should not use Rwanda to engage in any political activity against Uganda," Kagame said. Kagame said the diplomatic steps so far taken will deal with any allegation against Rwanda or Uganda. Museveni said the meeting found options for resolving differences between the two nations. "The situation between Uganda and Rwanda did not deteriorate into that of Eritrea and Ethiopia. The talks have at least helped reduce tension," Museveni said. A joint communiqué read by the Rwandan Cabinet affairs minister, Dr. Theogene Rudasingwa, said, "The two heads of state reiterated the importance of the role of the Permanent Joint Commission." The commission, whose chairmanship is held on rotation basis, was created in the 1960s but has been dormant. Museveni invited Kagame to Uganda but the details will be communicated later. Ends

Rwanda Not Hostile, Says Museveni

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