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Remarks by President Cyril Ramaphosa during a media briefing on the occasion of a State Visit by President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda

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Your Excellency Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, President of the Republic of Uganda,
Members of the media,
Distinguished guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere appreciation to President Museveni for honouring the invitation to pay a State Visit to South Africa. 

The purpose of the visit was to review and strengthen bilateral relations.

We have noted significant progress in the implementation of previous agreements and decisions.

As testament to our growing relations, we have just witnessed the signing of Memoranda of Understanding in diverse areas of cooperation.

On strengthening economic relations, we share a concern that the number of South African companies operating in Uganda, which stood at over 70 prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, has declined significantly. 

I conveyed to President Museveni that South Africa remains keen on investing in Uganda, particularly in banking, retail and telecommunications. We hope that Ugandan business invest in South Africa for the mutual benefit of the people of both countries. 

We expressed our strong conviction on the need to urgently resolve the issues that impede on economic growth in our countries. 

We therefore agreed that the Ministers of Trade of the two countries should urgently put in place a mechanism that will ensure protection of investments in our respective countries. 

We believe that this mechanism will help address challenges faced by the business communities of South Africa and Uganda in a timely manner. 

The mechanism will also enable our business communities to take advantage of the vast economic opportunities between our two countries, including those presented through the African Continental Free Trade Area and the Tripartite Free Trade Area between SADC, COMESA and the East African Community.

We noted with concern that the Tripartite Free Trade Area is yet to come into force as only 11 out of 14 countries have ratified it. We have agreed to call on the outstanding Member States to ratify the agreement so that we all may benefit from the great opportunities it presents. 

President Museveni and I considered the latest developments in our respective regions and on the continent more broadly. 

We expressed serious concern over the developments in the eastern DRC. We acknowledged that the Southern African Development Community and the East African Community share a common objective to find a sustainable and peaceful resolution to the situation in eastern DRC. 

We emphasised the importance of coordination of all troop-contributing countries deployed in the DRC so as to avoid duplication of efforts. 

We welcomed the communique of the meeting of the African Union Peace and Security Council held on 17 February 2023, which called for all armed groups to immediately cease hostilities and unconditionally withdraw from the eastern DRC.

On Ethiopia, we are encouraged by progress registered in the implementation of the Agreement on the Permanent Cessation of Hostilities between the Government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front. 

The signing of the agreement shows that we can achieve African solutions to African problems where there is political will. We called on continued support to the people of Ethiopia to ensure that sustainable peace and security is attained.

On South Sudan, we reaffirmed the importance of the full implementation of the Revitalised Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan. The Agreement remains the best hope for the people of South Sudan to ultimately attain peace. 

President Museveni and I deliberated on continental and international issues of mutual concern. 

We reaffirmed our solidarity with the people of Western Sahara and reiterated our call for the implementation of AU decisions and UN resolutions on the holding of a referendum to allow the people of Western Sahara to exercise their right to self-determination. 

We reasserted our solidarity with the people of Palestine and agreed that the outstanding final status issues must be resolved through direct negotiations between the parties. This must be done with support from the international community, in line with all relevant United Nations resolutions and international law and within internationally agreed parameters. 

South Africa restated its position that the current composition of the Security Council and lack of permanent representation by Africa are unsustainable. 

We agreed that for the Security Council to remain relevant and legitimate, it must be reformed as a matter of urgency to reflect the current global realities. 
I congratulated President Museveni on Uganda’s nomination as the incoming Chair of the Non-Aligned Movement. 

We believe that Uganda’s chairing will be an ideal opportunity to revitalise the Non-Aligned Movement so that it pursues the interests of developing economy countries.

In conclusion, this State Visit has reinforced the firm political and economic relations between our two countries. 

By deepening these relations, we aim to better the lives of our people and continue the struggle to overcome poverty, unemployment and inequality. 

I thank you.