KAMPALA – Uganda, and Somalia have on Friday 5th August 2022, through their respective Defence Ministers, received and adopted a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Defence Cooperation.
This was an outcome of two days’ work by the respective Technical Working Groups of the two sister-friendly countries, at Speke Common Wealth Resort, in Munyonyo, Kampala.
In his speech, the Minister of Defence and Veteran Affairs of the Republic of Uganda, Hon Vincent Ssempijja welcomed his Federal Republic of Somalia (FRS) counterpart Hon Abdulkadir Mohamed Nur and his delegation and thanked them for honouring Uganda’s invitation to attend this landmark event. “In the spirit of strengthening the relationship between our sister countries we have sealed a close cooperation that will both enhance and foster an economic transformation of our society”, Hon Ssempijja observed.
“Our countries have come a long way from colonial exploitative systems that divided us and we have today created a rapid development and modernisation of our countries,” he added.
He appealed to both sides to be loyal and committed to the adopted MoU, which will be signed during the bilateral Heads of State Summit of the two countries, scheduled for 8-11 August 2022 in Kampala.
He further urged both sides to negate the external interests that seek to divide the sister countries because no one can afford to wish away the hard-earned successes and achievements of the sons and daughters of the Somali Armed Forces and UPDF.
The Somali Minister of Defence Hon. Abdulkadir Mohamed Nur, thanked the Government of Uganda for the hospitable reception accorded to him and his delegation.
“The bilateral relations between us are long-standing. We will forever be thankful to the people of this nation and for the leadership of His Excellency President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni” he noted.
He explained that Al-Shabaab has increasingly become a threat to the region and more than ever before the Federal Republic of Somalia needs Uganda’s support in enhancing the capacity of its armed forces to continue protecting its sovereignty and military integrity.
This event was preceded by the meeting of the Military Chiefs of the two sides who met earlier today to review and endorse the report on the amendments of the draft Memorandum of Understanding, which was prepared by the technical working teams (TWT) of both countries.
At the earlier meeting, the Chief of Defence -UPDF, Gen Wilson Mbadi, was represented by the Deputy CDF, Lt Gen Peter Elwelu while Brig Gen Odowa Yusuf Raghe represented the Somali National Army.
In the introductory remarks before the endorsement of the draft MOU, Lt Gen Elwelu said, “As UPDF and Uganda, we appreciate your cooperation since we landed in Mogadishu in 2007.We have been in Somalia because you accepted us there and our being there has helped us and the entire region. Without your cooperation, we would not have achieved what we have achieved so far” he noted.
He reiterated that having a written bilateral legal document (MoU) was very important for the sides.
On his part, the CDF of the Somali National Armed Forces (SNAF) Brig Gen Odowa Yusuf Raghe expressed his satisfaction that this MOU lays ground for future cooperation of the two sister countries.
He further applauded the UPDF and the Government of Uganda for the sacrifices made to bring Somalia to its feet again.
According to the meeting, the Draft MOU on Defence Cooperation between the two countries has been in existence since 2018 but had never been concluded.
The meeting was also attended by Mr. James Mutabazi the UPDF Air Forces Under Secretary, Brig Gen Abdul Rugumayo, the UPDF Deputy Chief of Military Intelligence, Brig Gen Matthew Gureme the UPDF Chief of Training and Recruitment, Brig Gen Keith Katungi the Uganda Contingent Commander in the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS), Senior Officers and staff from the Ministry of Defence and Veteran Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Internal Affairs.
The Somali delegation included His Excellency Ali, Mohamad the Somali Government Ambassador to Uganda, Mr. Hassan Seif Samantar, the Director General Ministry of Defence, Lt Col Iman Elman the Director of External Affairs Somali National Armed Forces and Ms. Jihan Abdullah Hassan, Advisor Ministry of Defence among others.