3rd Session of Uganda-Burundi Joint Permanent Commission concluded successfully in Bujumbura
The 3rd Session of the Joint Permanent Commission (JPC) between the Republic of Burundi and the Republic of Uganda was held in Bujumbura, Burundi from March 22 - 24, 2022. The Session aimed to evaluate: the implementation status of decisions agreed upon during the 2nd Session of the JPC held in Kampala, Uganda, on 26th - 28th, August 1991; Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) signed between both countries; directives by their Excellences: President of the Republic of Burundi, H.E Evariste Ndayishimiye and President of the Republic of Uganda H.E Yoweri Kaguta Museveni on the occasion of the state visit to Uganda on May 13 - 14 , 2021; and to consider emerging issues. The Burundian delegation was led by H.E. Amb. Albert Shingiro, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Development Cooperation of the Republic of Burundi and the Ugandan delegation was led by Hon. John Mulimba, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs - Regional Cooperation of the Republic of Uganda. Among the MOUs signed were Cooperation in Diplomatic and Political Consultations, and Cooperation in Sports. In attendance from Uganda were Hon. Vincent Bamulangaki Ssempijja, Minister of Defence and Veteran Affairs, Hon. Judith Nabakooba Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Hon. Teko. Peter Lokeris, Minister of State for Energy and Mineral Development -Minerals, and Hon. Fred Bwino Kyakulaga, Minister of State for Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries. In his opening remarks, Hon John Mulimba recalled that the 2nd Session of the Uganda Burundi JPC was held in Kampala on 26th -28th August 1991 and lamented that it had taken thirty-one (31) years to convene the 3rd Session. In this regard, he paid Uganda's special tributes to the Government of the Republic of Burundi, for the tireless efforts exerted to have the Session convened in the beautiful city of Bujumbura next to the shores of Lake Tanganyika. He observed that both countries' efforts to pursue their respective bilateral activities on a more sustainable basis was greatly affected by the inability to convene the 3rd Session in time. He therefore remarked that the "3rd Session would serve to motivate the two sisterly countries to maximize mutual understanding and consensus to realize optimal outcomes." Hon. John Mulimba noted that Uganda and Burundi enjoy cordial and historical bilateral relations characterized by regular exchange of visits at all levels of Government including at the Heads of State level. He articulated that the two countries come to the aid of each other during their extreme moments of need. He cited occasions where the Government and People of the Republic Burundi aided the National Resistance Army/Movement during its protracted peoples war in the 1980s, and where Uganda participated in processes to restore peace and stability in Burundi over the past two decades. The Minister of State said that Uganda and Burundi are land locked countries, and the Session was mandated to deliberate on infrastructure development projects that address both countries' respective geographical location challenges, aiming at making Burundi and Uganda land linked through appropriate road and railway networks that provide easy access to oceans and consequently world markets. He reiterated Uganda's readiness to work with Burundi to ensure that all requisite policies and a conducive environment, physical and communication infrastructure are in place to enhance bilateral trade levels to boost the smooth flow of trade. Hon John Mulimba applauded both countries' spirit of Pan-Africanism and constructive engagement exhibited in their commitment to support regional peace and security initiatives against terror not only in Burundi and Uganda, but also in the region under the auspices of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) as well as African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). Uganda and Burundi were the first countries to take an initiative to deploy in Somalia under AMISOM. He conveyed Uganda's appreciation of Lt. General Diomede Ndegeya, the AMISOM Force Commander for the Year 2021 for his teamwork with the Ugandan Contingent in Somalia, and the Government of Burundi for the support extended to the General during his tour of duty. On this note, he expressed his wish that the Addis Ababa bilateral team spirit could be reflected in all regional and international bodies. He pointed out that the 4th Session of the Uganda-Burundi Joint Permanent Commission is supposed to be held in Kampala in 2023 on a date to be mutually agreed upon. He stressed the importance of holding JPC Sessions regularly to enable reviews of the status of implementation of agreed upon bilateral activities, and to explore new areas of cooperation. He pledged Uganda's commitment to ensure that the next Session is held on schedule on dates that would be communicated through usual diplomatic channels. On his part, HE Excellency Ambassador Albert SHINGIRO, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Burundi, reminded both delegations that the Session came because of the directives of their Excellences Evariste Ndayishimiye, President of the Republic of Burundi and Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, President of the Republic of Uganda to give a new impetus to the cooperation between our two sisterly countries. He recalled that the Ministerial Session followed two days working session of experts from both countries which explored several areas of cooperation such as the Memoranda of Understanding on diplomatic consultations, on energy, mining, hydrocarbons, transport, natural resources, culture, tourism, defence and security cooperation and economic cooperation. He further expressed his appreciation for the success of the organization of the Session alongside the Business Forum which was a clear sign that Burundian and Ugandan peoples are now looking in the same direction. He called upon Burundians to make best use of the stability that prevails in Burundi and the sub-region to boost trade and promote socio-economic development and social transformation The Minister then informed the participants that four (4) Memoranda of Understanding were to be signed, and with reference to the legal and official framework that guide both countries, reminded the participants that from a historical point of view, Burundian and Ugandan peoples crossed paths long before the independence of the two countries. He pointed out that from a commercial point of view, Uganda is one of the first two major destinations for Burundian traders in the sub-region.