EU assures Uganda of support despite stance on anti-gay Bill

By Micheal Agaba & Elizabeth Kamurungi updated by Earnest Kivumbi Benjamin on Thursday 11th May 2023

Vice President Jessica Alupo greets some of the diplomats as EU ambassador to Uganda Jan Sadek (centre) and State Minister for Foreign Affairs Okello Oryem (right) look on in Kampala on Tuesday. PHOTO/COURTESY OF EU

The European Union ambassador to Uganda, Mr Jan Sadek, says they are committed to continue supporting the country’s development agenda despite their disagreement with the Anti-Homosexuality Bill which was recently approved by Parliament.
Speaking at a function to celebrate Europe Day in Kampala on Tuesday, Mr Sadek said the continuous dialogue with the government over the matter indicates that they have Uganda at heart.

“The EU takes a great interest in Uganda. The EU wants to build a strong partnership with Uganda, on the political side, on cooperation, and on trade and investment, working with all segments of Ugandan society. We have a continuous and broad-based dialogue with the Government, and we share the same views in many areas,” Sadek said
He added: “But as friends and partners we also speak out when we have different views… There is no secret that we disagree about the new Anti-Homosexuality Bill, which contradicts universal values and threatens the safety and dignity of a group of citizens. We believe it is important to be able to have a frank exchange also about such matters.”

These comments come in the wake of international bodies, and development partners threatening to withhold much needed aid because of the Bill that they say is against their foreign policies and basic human rights.
The bloc, and its 27 member states is a leading development partner for Uganda, investing millions of Euros into pertinent sectors such as infrastructure, trade, energy, education among others. The EU has since met President Museveni over the same bill.
“The current cooperation budget for the EU Delegation is 800 MEUR, and taken together, including the efforts of the EU Member States, Team Europe is the leading development partner for Uganda…we are active everywhere, from infrastructure and renewable energy, trade and investment promotion, to education and gender, culture and support for Civil Society,” Mr Sadek said.

He applauded Uganda’s positive role in the region, its progressive refugee policy, and advancement in gender equality, freedom of religion and the fine coexistence between its ethnic groups.
Mr Sadek also hailed Uganda for taking a firm stand in promoting renewable energy and commercial coffee growing.
“We commend Uganda’s …. and its ambitions on renewable energy – where 90 percent of the country’s electricity comes from renewable sources – I think that is worthy of some applause,” he said.
“Coffee is what really links Uganda and the EU! Out of the Ugandan coffee exports, around 60 percent go to Europe, to a value of more than 800 MEUR per year…And we believe there is potential to grow this further,” Mr Sadek said.

Ms Alupo noted the positive collaboration that exists between government and the EU calling it “vibrant and strong. “We appreciate the important contribution and support that the EU has continued to extend in our social economic development and transformation agenda…in areas that are crucial for the development of the country such as infrastructure, energy, agriculture and supporting the Country to address key development challenges” Ms Alupo said.

He further highlighted key areas where more investment will be directed to include the creation of jobs for young people, conservation of the environment and governance and social inclusion.
At the event, Ms Alupo also voiced her concerns over the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine with strong calls to the warring parties to explore the possibilities of peace.
“We call on all the parties to refrain from the escalation of warfare, cease hostilities, de-escalate the conflict by diplomatic means and pursue mechanisms for dialogue and peaceful resolution”.

Mr Sadek termed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as imperialism and colonialism.
Uganda has maintained a neutral stand ever since the war broke out, with President Museveni previously declaring soft engagement with both parties to end the war.

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