President Yoweri Museveni has said that he is ready to deploy Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) in the democratic Republic of Congo to fight the M23 rebels.

During a joint press conference with DRC President Joseph Kabila at Mweya Safari Lodge, Kasese district on Thursday afternoon, President Museveni said that the will only deploy if the Congolese government asks for help.

“I have no problem deploying the army in Congo. The ADF and M23 rebels are a threat in the region and should be wiped out. I only need permission from Mr. Kabila, ” said Museveni.

Kabila arrived in Uganda on Thursday morning through the Mpondwe border post earlier for a security summit.

Before addressing the media, the two leaders met behind closed doors for close to two hours. According to Uganda Media Centre Director Ofwono Opondo, the two leaders discussed issues of regional security, cross-border trade and the development of the petroleum resources.

Ministers from the Uganda who attended the summit include Sam Kutesa for foreign affairs, Henry Tumukunde for security, Betty Amongi for lands and the attorney general, William Byaruhanga.

On the issue of harassment of Ugandan traders by the DRC authorities at the border, Kaliba said that he is aware of the complaints. He promised to address them and report back to President Museveni.

Traders have often complained about increased harassment from the police and army.

The traders, who are based at Mpondwe market, accuse the authorities of demanding money from them and occasionally destroying their timber, after declaring it illegal. They are also forced to pay unauthorized taxes to stay in business.

Kabila was also asked why the country has delayed to hold elections. In his response, Kabila, said that elections will be conducted after a thoroughly registration of the voters.
“Elections can’t take place when we do not know the number of voters,” he said.

International pressure has been building on Kabila, to put a plan in place for elections.

European Union (EU) foreign ministers raised the possibility of sanctions against members of the ruling elite.

The opposition threatened to sue the President Kabila if he goes against or intends to go against the constitution by deliberately sabotaging the electoral process.

In May, a top court ruled that Kabila can remain in power after his second full term in office if the government fails to hold presidential elections that are scheduled for November this year.