Ugandan president on weapons shopping spree in Israel

Published January 16th, 2003 - 02:00 GMT

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has arrived in Israel this week for a five day weapons shopping excursion arranged by Israeli arms trading firm Silver Shadow. Museveni is looking to acquire pilotless drones, ships, mortars and radar systems for his army from Israel's defense industries, reported Israeli daily Ha'aretz.  

 

Uganda is also interested in upgrading its warplanes. During his visit, the Ugandan president will be pressing forward a $25 million contract signed with Israel’s state-owned Aircraft Industries (IAI) in 1998 for the reconditioning of 12 MiG-21 fighters.  

 

Israel and Uganda established diplomatic ties in 1962, but the close relations were severed in 1973, after Muslim Idi Amin toppled the regime of Christian Milton Obote. In July 1976, the Israeli government mounted a surprise rescue operation of Air France passengers hijacked to Uganda's Entebbe Airport by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). 

 

Diplomatic relations were restored only in 1994. The two nations currently maintain strong economic ties—Israeli exports to Uganda are estimated at four million dollars a year, while Uganda’s exports to the Jewish state reach one million dollars per annum.  

 

Ugandan intelligence, police and military paramilitary personnel are regularly trained in Israel, as well as agricultural management teams and medical personnel. Israeli companies have built Uganda's airport and are paving roads there.  

 

Uganda has been entangled in a 16-year long civil war with Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), a fundamentalist Christian group based in the country’s northern region. East African Uganda is also involved in ongoing ethnic insurgencies linked to armed conflicts in neighboring Rwanda, Burundi and Congo/Zaire. Uganda is also at odds with Sudan. The two governments are accusing one another of backing the SPLA and the LRA respectively. — (menareport.com) 

© 2003 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)


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