PRESS BRIEFING BY THE ACTING MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS: 2 AUGUST 2012
Today I am here to brief the Press and Ugandans on three issues, namely:
• The visit of the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton;
• Uganda-South Sudan relations, in particular border issues and registration of foreigners/aliens; and
• The Summit of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region
1.0 VISIT OF THE US SECRETARY OF STATE, HILLARY CLINTON
The United States Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton is on an official visit to Uganda from 2nd – 4th August, 2012.
While in Uganda, the Secretary of State’s programme includes:
• A Meeting with His Excellency President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, to discuss matters of bilateral and international interest, such as peace and security in the region;
• A visit to a Community faith-based Non Governmental Organization in Mbuya, which provides care to urban poor persons living with HIV/AIDS, within the service area of Mbuya Catholic Parish, which is supported by the American Government; and
• A visit to Uganda People’s Defense Force’s training facility at Kasenyi.
2.0 UGANDA-SOUTH SUDAN RELATIONS
2.1 Registrations of Aliens
Since November last year, the South Sudan Ministry of Interior organized and publicly announced the registration of all aliens living in their country. The Government of the Republic of South Sudan stated that the purpose of this exercise was for the Ministry to reorganize their presence and compile relevant immigration data regarding each alien for security and statistical reasons, and the Minister emphasized that this was a national policy.
The Government extended the registration of aliens on several occasions, in the best interest of allowing everyone to legalize his/her stay in South Sudan. For example at the beginning of July the exercise was extended to July 25th 2012. Our Embassy in Juba has been fully involved in this matter, including securing several extensions for Ugandans in South Sudan.
The Government of South Sudan warned that effective 1st August, 2012 action would be taken to indentify aliens. Those found to have ignored this gesture of goodwill from the Republic of South Sudan, shall be subjected to legal procedures in accordance with South Sudan’s Immigration Act.
Unfortunately I am told that some Ugandans refused to heed to these official directives and did not register as was required. The Government of Uganda would like to make it clear that it fully respects the sovereign laws and regulations that were issued by the Government of South Sudan, and regrets that some Ugandans may be affected by their refusal to register.
I once again call on those who are yet to regularize their stay in South Sudan to do so, because this is in their own interest.
2.2 Border disputes
Continued disputes along our common border are straining relations among border communities in the districts of Lamwo, Moyo, Amuru and Yumbe. Tensions at the Uganda–South Border have been building for some time since 2008.
Of recent we have received information that some South Sudan Officials have cleared a ground at Matu village, Kwera Sub County about 08km inside Uganda/Yumbe district, in order to build a 04 class room block for a school named, Pure Primary School. This matter was brought to the attention of the South Sudan Ambassador to Uganda, during a meeting with the Minister of State Regional Cooperation. I have also discussed it with the South Sudan Minister of Foreign Affairs.
In this regard, following these tensions and several complaints raised by the local authorities and communities in the districts along Uganda/South Sudan border, the Government of Uganda constituted an Inter-Ministerial team from the relevant Government Ministries and Departments, which is working to among others resolve these border issues.
Among others, the Team has drafted a Concept Paper on Comprehensive Border Management and Capacity Building, which aims to address the problem. It is soon to be discussed with South Sudan counterparts.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is also initiating meetings at Ministerial level to launch Technical Working Teams to work out detailed modalities to remark the border.
3.0 EXTRA-ORDINARY SUMMIT OF THE INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON THE GREAT LAKES REGION
The Government of Uganda, in its capacity as Chair of the International Conference on the Great Lakes is convening an Extra-Ordinary Summit in Kampala on 7-8 August, 2012 to discuss the security situation in Eastern DRC.
It will be recalled that during an Extra-Ordinary Summit held in Addis Ababa on 15th July, 2012 on the side line of the African Union Summit, it was decided, among others, that another Summit meeting be held in Kampala, to enable Heads of State have a further in-depth discussion of the situation.
You will recall that last week, my Ministry briefed you on this Summit. I will however, be able to respond to any question you might have on this subject today.
Oryem Henry Okello
Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs