Rwanda announced early Friday that it will reopen the Gatuna border post with Uganda next week, ending nearly three years of standoff with the neighbor.
The announcement, by the Rwandan Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, came barely a week after a meeting in Kigali between Rwandan President Paul Kagame and a Ugandan senior presidential adviser.
Following the Jan. 22 visit to the Rwandan capital by Muhoozi Kainerugaba, Ugandan senior presidential adviser on special operations and commander of land forces of the Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF), the government of Rwanda has taken note that there is a process to solve issues raised by Rwanda, as well as commitments made by the government of Uganda to address remaining obstacles, said a Rwandan foreign ministry statement.
“In this regard and in line with communique of the 4th quadripartite summit held at Gatuna/Katuna on Feb. 21, 2020, the government of Rwanda wishes to inform the public that the Gatuna border post between Rwanda and Uganda will be reopened from Jan. 31, 2022,” the statement said.
According to the statement, other land border posts between Rwanda and Uganda will also reopen, and health authorities of both countries will work together to put in place necessary measures to facilitate movement in the context of COVID-19 preventive measures.
It said Rwanda remains committed to ongoing efforts to resolve pending issues between the two countries and believes that the reopening of the border will contribute positively to the speedy normalization of relations between Rwanda and Uganda.
In February 2019, Rwanda closed its border with Uganda, accusing Kampala of incarcerating its citizens. Uganda denied the allegations and instead accused Rwanda of infiltrating its security circles. Uganda also alleged that it had incarcerated its citizens too.
The border closure, according to experts, affected trade and movement of people between the two countries. Rwanda had barred its citizens from travelling to Uganda through the common border post of Gatuna/Katuna, warning them that Ugandan security agencies would arrest them.
About seven months after the border closure, Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni and Kagame met in the Angolan capital Luanda in efforts to ease the tension.
The two leaders signed an memorandum of understanding, and an ad hoc committee composing of ministers of foreign affairs and security officers from both countries was set up.
The committee has been meeting several times and resulted in Uganda releasing some of the Rwandan nationals who had been accused of violating Ugandan laws.