By Nasser Kasozi Akandwanaho
President Museveni has said the sanctions put on Russian oil by the US government are hurting Uganda and Africa at large.
Following the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, the US government imposed a ban on Russian oil and gas imports over the country’s invasion of Ukraine in a move seen as a a direct hit on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s main revenue source as Russian forces continue their battering of Ukrainian cities.
On Thursday, President Museveni received the US Ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield who called on him at State House, Entebbe.
Greenfield who is on an African tour of three African countries started her visit in Uganda today where she held discussions with Uganda’s president on regional and security matters among others.
The envoy expressed her delight to be in Uganda a country she said has a long and deep friendship with USA.
She extended warm greetings from President Biden to President Museveni whom she acknowledged as a pillar of stability in the region.
“We acknowledge Uganda’s peace mission in Somalia. Your mission has made a difference,” she noted.
Speaking in response, President Museveni commented about food security in Uganda , noting that whereas food is available , the high cost of fuel affects the transportation of food to the markets, thus driving prices up.
“The problem here is fuel. When fuel prices went up food prices also went up but we have food like bananas, cassava, millet and sweet potatoes. Although we had drought, we still have plenty of food,” Museveni said.
The president asked his visitor that the US should consider separating African countries including Uganda from the sanctions because the high cost of fuel is affecting the prices of commodities due to high transport charges.
“If you really want to help the third world, why don’t you leave the third world out of these sanctions in a conflict where we are not participating. The priority here is the high cost of fuel which is affecting the price of commodities due to high cost of transport,” Museveni said.
On regional security, Museveni told his guest that Uganda’s position is that cases of insecurity can easily be solved through dialogue by all parties involved especially where there is willingness to talk.
“Talking with adversaries is not a sign of weakness but an opportunity for soft landing and saving resources of time, life and dignity,” he pointed out.
Greenfield was accompanied by the US Ambassador to Uganda, Natalie Brown, the Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Molly Phee and the African Advisor, Judd Deveron, among others.
She will proceed to Ghana and Cape Verde after her visit in Uganda.
Engaging Russia, US on fuel
President Museveni in June said he would engage the US and Russia on the issue of fuel in a bid to get a solution for Uganda.
“I have contacted some of the actors. I am glad H.E. Biden is going to Saudi Arabia, to meet the Crown Prince to get OPEC to pump more petroleum out of the ground. That would definitely help. Also, the Chairperson of the AU Mack Sall, met Putin in Sochi, Russia to ask him to assist in getting the wheat of Ukraine out of the Ports of Odessa and he has also talked to the Europeans to stop sanctioning wheat from Russia and fertilizers because Africa needs them. This is one of the correct ways. “This is one of the correct ways. We shall use diplomacy to solve problems caused by these people,” Museveni said in his address to the nation.
Last month, the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov who was on a special visit to Uganda, told President Museveni that his country is open for discussion about the purchase of petroleum to help deal with the problem of inflation, especially fuel prices.
“If there is a state which is interested, which is willing to buy our oil, whether it is India, whether an African state, there are no obstacles for this. Not only do we sell oil but we also provide assistance in development and infrastructure in terms of refineries and oil products. We are open to having discussions with our Ugandan friends on this topic,” Lavrov said.