United Nations Security Council members will fly into the country tonight and meet President Museveni tomorrow to discuss regional security, including the staggering Somalia peace-keeping mission and Sudan’s worrying secession referendum.
Separately, 27 members of European Union’s top military organ yesterday held talks with Mr Museveni as international actors ratcheted up efforts for a final push to rout a resurgent al Shabaab. Today’s visit by the UN team will be its first out-of-New York assignment since Uganda, for the second time, assumed the rotational presidency of the powerful UN body last Friday.
Diplomatic and security sources confirmed last night that Ms Susan Rice, the US ambassador to the UN, will be among “high-level” guests representing all the 15 permanent and non-permanent Security Council members. The purpose of the visit, it emerged last night, will be addressing country-specific concerns; particularly the fluid security situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan and Somalia.
Mr Patrick Muganda, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman, said the members will also “reiterate UN’s support for regional security initiatives and African Union peace-keeping mission in Somalia”. “They will also emphasise their support to the cooperation between regional neighbours and the efforts to eliminate armed groups particularly the Lord’s Resistance Army rebels,” he said.
Kony, like four of his top commanders, some of who are reported dead, is wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes and crimes humanity, but they have eluded capture.
Today’s visit comes days after the world body’s Commissioner for Human Rights publicised a report implicating militaries of both Uganda and Rwanda, involved in various UN peace-keeping missions, of having committed human rights abuses during DRC’s 1997-2003 war. The appearance in Kampala of EU defence chiefs underlined growing international efforts to salvage Sheik Sharif’s Transitional Federal Government in Somalia, already plagued by infighting, from falling apart.
UPDF Air Force spokesperson, Capt. Tabaro Kiconco, said the 27 military experts, who constitute the European Union Military Committee, held fruitful discussions with President Museveni at State House Entebbe yesterday.
They will today visit Bihanga Training School to see how Somali military and police officers receive professional drills and assess available facilities for the purpose. European Union is a huge financer of AMISOM (AU mission in Somalia), paying up allowances of the 7,000 Ugandan and Burundian peacekeepers as well picking the bills for training Somalia security forces.