Museveni leaves for Russia-Africa summit

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President Museveni has left the country for Russian city, St.Petersburg  where he will attend the second Russia-Africa summit, State House has said.

The forum seeks to promote efforts to strengthen equal cooperation between Russia and African nations across all areas of society including politics, security, economic relations, science , technology, and the cultural and humanitarian spheres.

Museveni left Entebbe on Wednesday to join  48 other African presidents for the summit that runs between July 27-28

Strong ties

The administration in Kampala and their counterparts in Moscow have throughout the years enjoyed strong relations as the East African country is seen to be slowly moving away from the West.

The ties have kept growing stronger year by year.

In 2019, President Museveni was among the few African leaders who were invited for the first-ever Russia-Africa summit in the Russian Coastal city of Sochi.

Museveni has agains been invited the same summit set for July.

Russian President, Vladmir Putin was among the first world leaders to congratulate Museveni upon re-election as president in January 2021.

Uganda and Russia maintain cooperation in the fields of defence, education, energy, culture, trade and investment.

Uganda’s bilateral trade with Russia has doubled over the last ten years, from $30m (sh112b) in 2009 to over $74m (sh270b) by the end of 2018, much of it in mining and ICT.

Uganda has of recent further showed they cannot break ties with Russia when they(Uganda) abstained from voting to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Defence ties

Uganda and Russia have specifically cooperated in the defence sector.

Uganda has on several occasions purchased Russian made equipment including choppers.

For example last year, the  Defence Web, a South African-based website which monitors military purchases on the continent, last year reported that Uganda  purchased new Mi-28 attack helicopters from Russia.

Last year, President Museveni commissioned a helicopter maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facility to refurbish Mi-24 helicopters at Nakosongola Air Base.

 The facility is the only one in the South of the Sahara and because of this, it will be used to repair, maintain and overhaul Mi-24 choppers not from only Uganda but the region at large since.

This is because many countries in the region use Russian made choppers.

In April, President Museveni said he couldn’t afford losing his great ally Russia.

He explained that he has often indicated in writing to the Western partners on how the world should be run not through rivalry but through cooperation.

“We don’t want this nonsense of rivalry, what are you rivaling for, we have got enough problems to solve as a human race. It should be through cooperation and respecting the internal issues of countries. How can you have the whole world thinking the same way?”

He said it was in the same vein he told the Western world that tried to mobilize African countries to stand against Russia that it was impossible for Africa to tow that line.

“I saw the potential of convergence of interests. We have no problem with Russia and vise-versa. How can you say we fight Russia without any reason? Soviet Union for the last 100 years has been with Africa, Asia and Latin America,” he said.

 

 

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