Rwanda/Uganda: A Dangerous War of Nerves
President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni of Uganda and President Paul Kagame of Rwanda were once called the "new breed" of African leaders but hopes that they can deliver peace and prosperity to their countries are being severely shaken. In early November the two presidents held a crisis meeting in London hosted by the British Minister for International Development, Clare Short in response to the dramatic degradation of relations. The former allies now accuse each other of backing and training armed opposition groups. Each is mobilising his own forces, and unless the dispute is resolved, it could lead to renewed fighting on the territory of the Democratic Republic of Congo, where both countries have significant military and economic interests. The London meeting was the fourth time this year that the two leaders have sat down to try to resolve their differences. Officially, it went well, leading to the creation of a joint Ugandan/Rwandan verification committee with the participation of the UK as a third party. However, such meetings have never yet managed to dispel the mutual distrust that arose with the outbreak of the Second Congo War in August 1998. Earlier agreements have not been implemented. The hope for better follow through this time lies with the new element of close British involvement.