Uganda, Congo Step Up Efforts to Tap Border Minerals

KAMPALA (Dow Jones Newswires), Apr. 15, 2009

Uganda and Congo have stepped up efforts to improve diplomatic ties in a bid to better exploit cross-border mineral resources, Congo's diplomatic attache to Uganda told Dow Jones Newswires Wednesday.

Yav Juvenile said Congo is in the process of upgrading its mission to ambassadorial level and is working closely with the Ugandan Ministry of Energy and Minerals on ways to improve oil exploration and exploitation on its side of the Albertine rift.

"We are working together, Uganda is already ahead of us and we believe that improved cooperation will benefit both countries," he said.

Last month, the presidents of Uganda and Congo agreed to implement the 2007 Ngorduto agreement, which provides for improved political and economic cooperation between the two countries. The agreement was reached following a spate of military clashes between the countries over border disputes.

Uganda has already appointed an ambassador to Congo. The two are currently constituting a joint oil exploration committee to oversee exploration activities on both sides of the Albertine rift. Congo is close to granting an oil exploration production license to U.K.-based Tullow Oil PLC, which already operates on the Ugandan side of the border.

Since 2006, Uganda has taken remarkable strides in oil exploration on its side of the rift. However, similar activities on the Congolese side have been hampered by insecurity and the government's decision to review of all mining contracts signed between 1996-2003.  

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