Last Updated on: 17th January 2024, 09:50 pm
Kampala | Uganda and the Central African Republic (CAR) have Wednesday signed a memorandum of understanding on military cooperation during a bilateral meeting held at Skyz Hotel, Naguru.
Speaking at the meeting, the Minister of Defence and Veteran Affairs, Vincent Bamulangaki Ssempijja said, “Today marks a milestone between the two countries” and reiterated Uganda’s commitment to the military partnership with the Central African Republic.
“Uganda has always been committed to promoting peace and stability in the region and we strongly believe that the best to achieve this is through cooperation and collaboration with our neighbours. Our defence partnership with CAR is a testament to this commitment, and we will continue to work together to ensure that our region remains peaceful and prosperous,” Ssempijja added.
The minister commended the unconditional support the government of CAR gave to Uganda during last year’s repatriation of the ex-combatants of the Lord’s Resistance Army from the Zemio and Mboki camps in CAR.
The minister of National Defence and Army Reconstruction of the Central African Republic, Claude Rameaux Bireau said, “The focus of the MoU on military cooperation is to normalise the partnership aimed at building the operational capacity of the Central African Armed Forces.”
Rameaux thanked the government of Uganda for sending the UPDF at the peak of LRA activities in CAR.
He also expressed his country’s desire to benchmark the professionalism of the Uganda Peoples’s Defence Forces which he described as “a role model”, adding that they hope to learn from the UPDF in terms of production and technological support.
In the future, CAR wishes to sign an economic agreement.
During the session of the Chief of Defence and Chief of Defence Staff, the Joint Chief of Staff, Maj. Gen. Leopold Kyanda who represented the UPDF Chief of Defence Forces observed that the cooperation of CAR through the African Union Regional Task Force was crucial in degrading the LRA whose remnants have since renounced the rebellion.
Maj. Gen. Kyanda further said that the MoU is a milestone in cementing the relationship between the two countries and militaries, saying it will go a long way in consolidating their cooperation.
Brig. Gen. Arcadius Betibangui who Represented the Chief of Defence Staff of the Central African Armed Forces called for the need to fast-track the MoU by exploiting the various areas of cooperation.
The signing of the memorandum of understanding comes against the backdrop of an earlier MoU that was signed in 2017 and expired in 2022, said Col. Deo Akiiki, the deputy defence spokesperson.