Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amb. Monica Juma together with her Ugandan counterpart Tuesday held bilateral talks aimed at strengthening the cordial relationship the two countries have enjoyed over time.
The two Ministers together with their delegations agreed on the importance of political and regional integration of the East African countries which is key in the development of shared infrastructure as well as political commitment of Kenya and Uganda.
The team discussed a wide range of issues of cooperation key among them a collaborating to ensure that there is peace and security particularly in Somalia and South Sudan.
The two countries are lead contributors of peace troupes in Somalia to combat terrorism and are in the forefront in restoration of peace in South Sudan, Burundi and the Great Lake regions.
Speaking at a press briefing at her office in Nairobi Tuesday, Juma said that Kenya and Uganda also see issues of continental and global arena from the same perspective and the relationship has continued to grow significantly among citizens of these two countries.
“We intend to elevate the relationship further with a State visit of Uganda President Yoweri Museveni on Wednesday where he will be hosted by President Uhuru Kenyatta,” revealed Juma.
Among the issues to be discussed by the two Heads of States, include foreign affairs, defense and security, trade and investments, agriculture, energy, transport, tourism, education, science and technology, health and youth development as well as sports.
On the issue of the border between Kenya and Uganda, Juma said that this has been part of the main agenda and was part of the long-term solutions being sought to enable communities living along the lake to co-exist peacefully in harnessing and maximizing utilization of the regional resources.
“During the meeting, it was agreed that we have a three month work plan to implement the goals,” Juma said.
On his part, Ugandan Foreign Affairs Minister, Sam Kutesa said that the integration is historical and real as Kenya and Uganda have been placed together geographically.
“Uganda values our relationship with Kenya and we cannot afford to abdicate our duty in the integration process as we have been champions of this process for a long time,” said Kutesa.
Kutesa further stated that Uganda and Kenya have integrated in East African Community (EAC), and together we are members of Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA) among other regional bodies,” stressed Kutesa.
He added that Uganda is happy with Kenya’s initiative in the recent dispute with the neighbouring Rwanda and revealed that they could not afford to lose on the gains made.
Kutesa also reported that apart from volumes in trade between Kenya and Uganda, time turnaround has been reduced from 19 days to four days which was a tremendous achievement.
By Elizabeth Wambui/ Simon Githogori