FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The Ambassadors of the ten European Union Member states resident in Uganda viz. Excellences Marc Gedopt(Belgium), Nathalia Feinberg(Denmark), Klaus Dieter Duxmann(Germany), Anne Webster(Ireland), Stefano Antonio Dejak(Italy), Aline Kuster-Menager(France), Jeroen Verheul(Netherlands), urban Andersson(Sweden), Mr.Phillip Mani(UK) and Ms Simone Knapp(Austria) led by the EU head of Mission H.E Roberto Ridolfi, held a meeting with President Yoweri K. Museveni yesterday, March 28th 2012.
The Meeting that took place at State House Entebbe is part of the EU political dialogue with partners, mandated by Article 8 of the Cotonou agreement, following a previous one held on 6th October 2011 with several government ministers.
The objective of the meeting was to foster a deeper EU-Uganda political understanding and cooperation.
Speaking during the meeting, Dr. Ridolfi said, "The list of issues that we have tabled for discussion is the result of the local political, social, and economic developments of the past year. The agenda has been prepared by the European Union Delegation and the EU Member States as well as the Government of Uganda through the very good cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials and of course the Acting Minister himself."
The meeting's agenda focused on the three key issues of "Democracy & Human Rights", "Peace & Security" and "Economic Growth and Governance".
Political space and Electoral Reform were discussed, and the President is considering reforming the appointment process of the Electoral Commission. He stated that an inter-party forum would be a good platform to address such issues as well as others of national and strategic importance.
The Uganda-EU political dialogue also contained human rights issues, and the meeting fostered a deeper mutual understanding on public order management and the anti-homosexuality bill. The EU welcomed the anti-torture bill, and the President urged the relevant Minister to further pursue the fight against torture.
On regional affairs, the EU commended Uganda's role in restoring peace in Somalia and discussed cooperation towards the development of Somalia. The President and the EU agreed to explore the possibility of offering joint technical assistance to the South Sudanese civil service. The EU commended President Museveni's efforts towards uniting the EAC.
The President was delighted about the 'Sustainable Energy 4 All' initiative by the UN to be led in Uganda by the EU, since access to electricity was one of the biggest challenges to growth in Africa.
The President commended the preparations by the EU and the Ministry of Finance in preparing a Public-Private Equity Fund to provide affordable long-term capital and business development services to SMEs in agriculture and agri-business.
Furthermore the President embraced the idea of organizing a conference on Trans-African networks in Kampala in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of Uganda in October this year aimed at finding a robust solution to infrastructure financing.
On the issue that Western political parties may be providing young Ugandan politicians unreported funding; the President upon request specifically pointed out ONLY one case.
This matter, was discussed for no more than ten minutes out of a solid five hours of positive political interaction with good and shared follow-up among equal partners and friends.
Dr Ridolfi described the meeting as having been held in a very good spirit. The interaction was positive and constructive, resulting in the identification of several concrete areas for further cooperation.