The Minister for Defence and Veteran Affairs Vincent Bamulangaki Ssempijja on Tuesday held a meeting with the United Nations Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region Xia Huang.
The meeting, at the Ministry of Defence and Veteran Affairs headquarters in Mbuya, Kampala, mainly focused on regional security for the social-economic transformation of communities.
Minister Ssempijja welcomed Huang and his delegation and thanked them for their unwavering support for the peace and stability in Uganda and beyond.
“We appreciate the relationship of the Uganda-United Nations family and a visit like this puts us in a better understanding to move forward together,” Ssempijja noted.
Xia Huang, in his remarks, commended the role played by UPDF in stabilising the region, most especially in neutralising negative forces in the Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
“We strongly understand your shared regional concerns and you have our full support,” Huang asserted.
Speaking at the same meeting, the Chief of Defence Forces Gen Wilson Mbandi noted that the country is generally peaceful and secure.
He added that the mission of UPDF in a joint security operation code-named ‘Operation Shujaa’ with the Congolese army – FARDC, against the terrorist Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) operating in the eastern part of DRC is to establish a stable, secure and peaceful environment so that residents can participate in trade and improve on their quality of life.
He reiterated that fighting terrorism activities is no longer a one country’s but a regional problem that calls for collective response.
The existence of terrorists is no longer a one country problem but a regional problem. he said.
Gen Mbadi urged the UN to continue supporting regional mechanisms against terror.
Both sides underscored that regional security concerns including terrorism, have been exacerbated by external shocks such as the Covid-19 and the latest Russia – Ukraine war, which have among other things, increased commodity prices thus stretching livelihoods in the region.
The meeting further called for coordinated, consistent and comprehensive solutions towards eliminating negative forces in the region, further emphasizing that terrorism is not only a regional threat but a continental threat with global networks.