By Uganda Online Media
The Ugandan Embassy Chancery in Mogadishu, the capital city of Somalia, has now been officially inaugurated, signifying a significant stride forward in Uganda-Somalia bilateral relations. The launch event was graced by officials from both nations, underlining the value placed on diplomatic ties. As a physical manifestation of Uganda’s dedication to Somalia, the chancery is anticipated to pave the way for closer cooperation in various sectors such as trade, security, and cultural exchanges.
This latest development is a testament to the mutual trust and cooperation between Uganda and Somalia, and it is projected to stimulate further collaboration in the future. Uganda has even expressed its willingness to mediate between Somalia and the breakaway region of Somaliland, with the aim of facilitating reunification after more than three decades of division. President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda consented to undertake this role following an official visit by a special envoy from Somaliland.
The proposed reunification could potentially bolster Somalia’s ability to counter challenges, including the insurgency led by the Islamist group al-Shabaab. Furthermore, the Ugandan Embassy in Mogadishu has been a frequent target of al-Shabaab attacks, which has resulted in considerable damage to mission property.
This has led to the Ugandan Ministry of Foreign Affairs seeking Parliament’s approval for an additional budget of Shs1.3 billion to enhance security at the embassy and maintain the Uganda House in New York.
The dialogue between the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Uganda and the Director-General of Protocol and Acting Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Somalia delved into various issues of mutual interest. This included the existing Framework Agreement signed between Uganda and Somalia in 2016, which outlines areas of cooperation between different sectors, Ministries, Departments, and Agencies of the two nations. Despite the progress, several MPs have voiced concerns about the security of the mission in Mogadishu and queried the hiring of private guards instead of relying on the UPDF in Somalia.
The Foreign Affairs Committee clarified that the term of the UPDF in Mogadishu is soon to expire, and the supplementary request is intended to ensure continuity in the operations of the embassy. The focus on New York and Mogadishu is due to specific needs and agreements with contractors and the Ministry of Finance, the committee explained.