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Ugandan president’s son visits Rwanda in sign of warming ties

Rwanda and Uganda on Saturday said they had held “cordial” talks on improving relations after Muhoozi Kainerugaba, the son of Uganda’s president, met with Rwandan President Paul Kagame in Kigali.

The talks between Kagame and Kainerugaba — a general rumoured to be a possible successor of his 77-year-old father, President Yoweri Museveni — came after years of tension between the two neighbours,

The border between the East African nations has been closed for nearly three years.

A tweet from Rwanda’s presidency said the pair had had “cordial, productive and forward looking discussions about Rwanda´s concerns and practical steps needed to restore the relationship between Rwanda and Uganda”.

Kainerugaba tweeted: “We held very cordial and in-depth discussions about how to improve our bilateral relations.

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“I’m confident that under the leadership of our two Presidents we shall be able to quickly restore our historical good relations,” he added.

Earlier Saturday, Rwanda’s presidency tweeted a picture of the two men, the general wearing civilian clothes.

The Ugandan government also tweeted pictures of the meeting, which it said was “for a prosperous, competitive, secure, stable and politically united East Africa”.

– Troubled relations –

The meeting came after Uganda’s UN representative met with Kagame on Monday to deliver a message from Museveni, according to the Rwandan foreign ministry.

It also came less than a week after Kainerugaba tweeted two photos of Kagame, one of the president as a young man wearing military fatigues and a more recent image of him in a suit.

“This is my uncle, Paul Kagame. Those who fight him fight my family. They should all be careful,” the tweet said.

Kainerugaba’s father Museveni and Kagame were close allies over the 1980s and 90s during struggles for power in their respective country, before becoming bitter rivals.

Rwanda abruptly closed its border with Uganda in February 2019, cutting off an important trade link.

Kigali also accused Uganda of abducting its citizens and supporting rebels seeking to topple Kagame.

For its part, Uganda accused Rwanda of spying as well as killing two men during an incursion into Ugandan territory in 2019 — a claim Kigali denies.

Talks between Kagame and Museveni were hosted by Angolan President Joao Lourenco and Congolese leader Felix Tshisekedi, the last such meeting taking place in February 2020.

No meeting has been held since, partly due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Relations between the countries also soured after an investigation last year found that Rwanda had used Israeli Pegasus spying software to hack into the phones of Uganda’s prime minister and foreign minister, among others. AFP