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Remarks by Hon Okello Oryem at the launch of Ministry's website and two books on Uganda.

Thursday, 19th June 2014
Hon Okello Oryem displays Uganda in the UN Security Council: 2009 – 2010
Honorable Ministers, 
Honorable Members of Parliament, 
Your Excellencies the High Commissioners and Ambassadors , 
Permanent Secretaries, 
Directors and heads of department from the various Ministries, 
Members of the media fraternity, 
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen.

I am glad to   see so many of you here at the launch of two books on Uganda:
1.Uganda and the world: Half a century of Foreign Policy
2.Uganda in the UN Security Council: 2009 – 2010

We will also be launching the new website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Missions which is a tool the ministry has developed to improve communication between Missions and headquarters  in more interactive and integrated manner.

Ladies and Gentlemen, join me in thanking UNDP for funding both the redesigned and upgraded website for both the Ministry Headquarters and the Missions as well as the book entitled "Uganda and the world: Half a century of Foreign Policy" and also for funding this launching function.

I am glad because there is now a common saying around that "if you want to hide something from an African, place it in a book". Your presence here today at the launching of two books demonstrates that that saying may not necessarily be true after-all. What I know to be true, however, is that one of our weaknesses as a society is still to a large extent, our inability to record and pass on our experiences to the next generation as the written word.

Ladies and gentlemen, as part of our Public Diplomacy the Ministry is obligated to communicate and inform the foreign and domestic publics to establish a dialogue designed to inform, influence and broaden dialogue on the aspects of international relations.  We are therefore launching these two publications to this effect. 

It is therefore my humble request to my fellow Ugandans that we should do more to encourage people to cultivate the love of reading. As Jane Evershed once said,

To read is to empower 
To empower is to write 
To write is to influence 
To Influence is to change 
To change is to live.

Distinguished guests, you will recall that 2012 was the jubilee of Uganda's Independence which had commemorative events staged by many groups including parliamentarians, town councils, and many other different groups which lasted many months and came to a climax on 9th October 2012 at Kololo Airstrip.   The ceremony was graced by local and foreign dignitaries including Heads of State. This also marked fifty years of her independence from colonial rule as well as a Foreign Policy managed by Uganda. 
The two books we are launching today were to be launched then to detail a historical assessment of Uganda's Foreign Policy over the last fifty years and Uganda's positive role and contribution throughout   its 50 year membership to the work of the United Nations, the AU and other regional groupings to which Uganda belonged. None the less better late than never that we have the launch today and the message remains the same. I am also happy that the launch today coincides with Uganda being unanimously elected President of the 69th Session of the UN General Assembly signifying the trust and confidence the International Community has in Uganda and its Foreign Policy Conduct over the 52 years.

Suffice to say that one of the books being launched entitled Uganda and the world details the history of Uganda's Independence from 9th October 1962 – 2012 and the 50 years of Uganda at the UN. It also provides a narrative of major foreign policy players, events, decisions and activities through the different phases of our post colonial history. 

As you read through the book, the assessment covers the major issues including Pan-Africanism, non-alignment, regional integration, key bilateral, regional and international peace issues as well as issues of peace building and multilateral diplomacy, among others.

One clear message in this publication is that from the recent experiences in the search for peace and stability in the Great Lakes Region including Burundi, DRC, Sudan and Somalia, one single doctrine has emerged, that of Regionally-led peace initiatives where the region and African Union pick the lead in resolving conflicts with the UN Security Council supporting those efforts and where this occurred, results have been positive. This is what has been referred to by President Museveni as the Trinity and others call this as the Uganda Doctrine where there should be African Solutions to African problems. All these clearly show that Uganda has passed through different phases that have shaped her Foreign Policy.

This book, in particular, details Uganda's current standing in the international arena including the role played by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in promoting Economic and Commercial Diplomacy in addition to the  regional and international peace and security which have become the  focus in our Foreign Policy in this decade. 

The second book, Uganda in the UN Security Council should be seen as a publication that details the practical aspects of Uganda's Foreign policy at the highest level and how Uganda has presented and projected her image as a positive player in the maintenance of regional and international peace and security.

Ladies and Gentlemen, allow me to note that Uganda's tenure as a member of the Security Council January 2009 to December 2010 was motivated and guided by Uganda's conviction that the maintenance of International peace and security must remain a shared responsibility. Uganda believes in the equality of all persons before the law and belief that if the citizens of the country for some reason cannot solve the problem, then the sub region organization should step in and then the international bodies such as the UN should come into the process and provide solidarity and back up support. This is the Ugandan doctrine of regional led process that has been clearly articulated in these two books.

The book on 'Uganda in the UN Security Council' gives an account on how Uganda successfully discharged her responsibilities as an elected member of the security council the period 2009 and 2010 and how Uganda worked with all other 15 members of the UN security council to discuss and resolve the issues that were presented.

As you read through the book you will be able to acknowledge that  Uganda played a constructive role by maintaining principled positions of the AU, our Foreign Policy objectives and as part of Uganda's commitment to the purposes and principles enshrined in the Charter of the UN.

You will also note that Uganda took a keen interest in the conflict prevention and resolution as well as peace building. You will also note that Uganda was convinced that since African issues take up about 70% of the agenda of the Security Council there was need to strengthen the UN partnership with the AU and sub regional organizations on issues of peace, security and development. Uganda worked hard to ensure that this was achieved through creating a linkage between UN Security Council and AU Security Council during month of Uganda's Presidency.

The book further details Uganda's position on the various topical issues that were presented before the UN Security Council and enables one to appreciate how the Security Council has and continues to work in order to maintain international peace and security.

I therefore commend to you, the two books which we are launching now, that present to you the historical narrative of Uganda's Foreign Policy that is informative, easy to read and contains useful information on the events and players that have shaped Uganda¡¯s Foreign Policy over the years and how Uganda continues to project, promote and protects its Foreign Policy in the international arena. Uganda's experiences, challenges and lessons learnt during its tenure in the Security Council are well laid out in the publication, Uganda in the UN Security Council: January 2009-December 2010.

In my opinion, these two books are invaluable resources to various sections of the population in Uganda and beyond. I commend these two books to the general public, leaders in public and private sectors, academia and all peace-loving Ugandans.  

Allow me now to unveil to you the two books and the improved and integrated website for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and its Missions.

Thank You.

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