President meets EU Envoys to Uganda
President Yoweri Museveni has today held a cordial interface with the European Union Envoys in Uganda at State House, Entebbe.
The diplomats’ delegation that was led by the European Union Envoy to Uganda, Ambassador Attilio Pacifici, included Heads of Mission of Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, France, Italy, Hungary, the Netherlands, Austria, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
President Yoweri Museveni and his guests discussed a wide range of issues that included global, regional and national issues of mutual interest among others.
The President assured the EU envoys that the forthcoming elections in the country will be held as everything is in place and that the remaining matters will be ironed out on time.
“We still have ideological issues which will be sorted out and the social issues like employment are healthy ones.
He informed his guests that disciplined debate should be encouraged as opposed to destructive ways of discussing social and economic matters. He commended European companies for investing in Uganda adding that this has created more jobs for the youth. He, therefore, urged them to woo more investors to come and do business in Uganda.
The President and his guests further discussed the business climate, trade and investment and recognized the potential for expanding the Uganda-EU trade and investment opportunities. The European Union is the biggest trading partner of Uganda outside Africa.
On Corruption, President Museveni assured the envoys that the vice will be wiped out as government has created more check-points like the health and anti-corruption Units in State House to help the already existing government organs to contain and fight the vice.
Regarding the issue of freedom of expression, he pointed out that the right procedures should always be followed as this is part of ideas that are expressed through speech and peaceful demonstrations. He, however, cautioned that these demonstrations should be done along agreed routes but not through crowded areas, like market places and shops, where goods of traders would be destroyed and looted.
“This is part of ideas, we want ideas. I always speak but I don’t break people’s cars. For us, we say ‘No’ to violence; No to damaging people’s property and looting and ‘No’ to hate messages,” he stressed.
On press freedom, President Museveni pointed out that it must be of quality but not the pseudo-ideology where the identity of people is attacked.
“We cannot have anarchy. That is something we cannot tolerate,” he stressed.
He welcomed the idea of EU observers being present during the elections on the basis of mutual collaboration and solidarity.
Turning to climate change, the President called on the EU member countries to help in efforts to reclaim wetlands especially in the Eastern part of Uganda where rice growers have invaded the swamps. He told the envoys that those swamps could be used for fish farming an activity that fetches higher financial returns than rice cultivation.
He added that the same could be done on forests that have been destroyed for human settlement, firewood and agriculture.
Turning to the relationship between Uganda and her neighbours, Mr. Museveni said once the security situation is handled, there will be a huge opportunity for enhanced cooperation in the area of trade, among other things.
He also assured EU envoys that he fully supports the National Dialogue as this is a forum for an exchange of constructive ideas.
Speaking about wildlife conservation, the President noted that Uganda has done very well in that sector adding that Uganda has scooped a gold medal in the sector in an ongoing wild life meeting in South Africa.
The EU Ambassador to Uganda Mr. Attilio Pacifici, expressed appreciation to President Museveni and to the Government of Uganda officials for sparing time to meet them. He expressed the hope that the tradition would continue.
Prime Minister, Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda, Ministers, NRM Secretary General, Kasule Lumumba who outlined the road map for the forthcoming National Dialogue Summit and Senior Government officials attended the 5-hour meeting.