Rwanda’s Foreign Affairs Minister Richard Sezibera has blamed ‘misleading reports’ for the current impasse with Uganda.
Last week, Rwanda closed her border with Uganda at Katuna and Cyanika before banned Rwandans from travelling to Uganda.
Then, Sezibera claimed that Uganda had arrested and detained Rwandans as well as ‘irregular deportations that have been going on for the past two years.’
On Tuesday, while addressing a news conference, Sezibera, said that Rwandan borders remain open and allows entry of people and goods from Uganda, despite what he called misleading reports that the borders were closed, according to state owned The New Times newspaper.
He however, elaborated on the three issues that Rwanda has had with Uganda for the last two years, one of them being the frustration of goods transiting through Uganda and destined for Rwanda.
Rwanda accesses the port of Mombasa in Kenya through Uganda in what is called the Northern Corridor and, according to Sezibera, several trucks headed to or out of Rwanda have been stopped by Ugandan authorities, sometime for weeks, before being released without any explanation.
To minimize any negative consequences, Sezibera said that in partnership with the local private sector and allied ministries, there were ongoing efforts to ensure a steady supply of imports and commodities in the country to avoid shortages or price hikes.
This will ensure that commodities required in Rwanda are available and at regular prices.
He said that they were working on using alternative trade routes and corridors such as Central Corridor via Tanzania.
Sezibera added that exports to Uganda are not that high that a decline could affect economic growth.
He however said that there is hope that the export trends could pick up once the relations between the two countries are normalised.
He said that the government was also working closely with authorities of areas bordering Uganda who have been importing most supplies from across the border to ensure that their livelihoods are not affected.
“We hope that these exports will eventually continue to pick up. If we solve these issues that are hampering free trade, we will be able to trade easily. We cannot have free trade of goods without free movement of people,” he said.
He however said that the welfare of Rwandans was more important in the current situation and would take priority as the two countries continue to engage.
“Goods are important but people are more important,” he said, adding that they would continue to engage to ensure these issues are ironed out and relations normalized.
Source: The New Times
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