By Kitts D. Mabonga
DIPLOMATIC NEWS: The Russian government has extended an invitation to African heads of state including president Museveni to attend the first ever Russia- Africa forum targeting to discuss economic, social and political issues between Russia and Africa as a strategy to strengthen bilateral relations.
The remark has been made by the ambassador of the Russian federation to Uganda His Excellency Alexander Polyakov during a cocktail reception to mark the Russia day held at Sheraton hotel in Kampala.
He explained to members of the diplomatic corps, cabinet ministers, MPs, religious leaders and members of the business community that President Vladimir Putin has extended the invitation to President Museveni and the chairperson of the African Union who doubles as the President of Egypt Abdel Fattah el Sisi to attend the event to be held in October in the Russian city of Sochi.
He noted that the agenda shall include a set of inter-governmental and inter-ministerial agreements, proposing several prospective projects in high –tech spheres such as using atomic energy for peaceful purposes and space research among others.
The ambassador observed that his country is currently working on a program of comprehensive development of Uganda-Russia cooperation based on science and education that shall be presented during the Russia-Africa forum.
The state minister for International affairs Okello Oryem on behalf of government said it was necessary for both countries to conclude the pending draft agreements to further broaden the cooperation in strategic areas which includes ICT and cyber security, mineral exploration and natural resources management, energy, agriculture, housing and construction, healthcare, tourism and education particularly vocational training which is aimed at skilling Uganda among others.
Oryem observed that for the last few years Uganda and Russia have organized alternate business forums, tourism and expo events aimed at developing and strengthening economic, scientific and technical cooperation.
He said they have also held alternate permanent joint commissions in Moscow in October 2016 and in Kampala in October 2017 to discuss, deepen and further diversify Uganda-Russia bilateral cooperation
Present during the colorful event were the minister of tourism, wildlife and antiquities Prof. Ephraim Kamuntu, the minister of science, technology and innovation Dr.Ellioda Tumwesigye, the head of the Orthodox Church in Uganda Metropolitan Jona Lwanga among other dignitaries