President Museveni of Uganda and President Salva Kiir of South Sudan held a meeting to discuss matters of mutual interest and border security. The closed-door meeting also touched upon conflicts in South Sudan.
The primary topics of discussion revolved around regional issues, particularly border security and the ongoing conflict in South Sudan, as confirmed by Mr Sandor Walusimbi, the President’s senior press secretary.
Tensions along the border have escalated recently, with South Sudanese forces allegedly raiding more than 20 villages in Yumbe District, claiming ownership of the area. These cross-border clashes are not new, with a similar incident in 2020 resulting in casualties on both sides.
Uganda, under President Museveni’s leadership for the past 35 years, has played a significant role in maintaining regional security. President Museveni has actively sought to mediate in the South Sudan conflict, facilitating talks between President Kiir and his rival Riek Machar.
South Sudan, an oil-rich nation, has faced turmoil since gaining independence in 2011, including ongoing war, political power struggles, and the displacement of millions of people. Although the Revitalised Peace Agreement aimed to bring stability and included plans for elections, political rivalries have hindered progress.
In response, the United Nations (UN) Security Council imposed an arms embargo on South Sudan in 2018. In August 2022, South Sudan extended its transitional government for two more years to prevent a return to conflict.
Despite its oil wealth, South Sudan remains one of the world’s poorest countries, grappling with war, natural disasters, hunger, ethnic violence, and political strife.
In recent developments, Uganda and South Sudan signed agreements to enhance power trade and boost socio-economic development in border towns. Additionally, a joint security management agreement was signed to facilitate the free movement of people and goods between the two nations, reducing harassment of refugees, returnees, and traders.
Dignitaries attending the meeting included Uganda’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Henry Okello-Oryem, and South Sudanese officials such as Mr Barnaba Marial Benjamin, Dr Martin Elia Lomuro, and Dr James Pitia Morgan.