- Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom and the head of the Commonwealth has lauded the Ugandan government for striving hard to find a peaceful resolution to the conflict that plagued the country's northern region.
She expressed delight to be associated with the democratic path and stability of the Pearl of Africa, a county she last visited 53 years ago.
Dressed in a smart lime green suit with matching hat, the Queen, who was flanked by her husband Prince Philip, was addressing the Ugandan parliament in the capital Kampala on Thursday.
"Many in the United Kingdom were moved by the plight of the suffering of the people in Northern Uganda", the Queen said, pledging the UK's continued support to Ugandan government's efforts to end the conflict once and for all.
A 20-year-old war led by the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) in Northern Uganda has killed thousands of people and left many others displaced.
But the government-LRA peace negotiations in recent past has paid dividends, as calm and stability had returned to the troubled region. Many people who have been displaced by the war have since been returning to their homes to start live afresh.
Queen hailed Uganda for not only providing courageous and professiolanl peacekeeping troops in Somalia, but also leading the mission.
The Queen, who was greeted with much fanfare, dancing and music at the Ugandan parliament, said Uganda was "indeed truly gifted by nature".
The Queen had earlier visited the Mildmay hospital [one of the several projects funded by the British government] to offer paediatric care and support to Ugandan children living with HIV/AIDS.
She commended the Ugandan government for its efforts to restore hope to those infected and affected by the jigsaw puzzle disease.
She was however concerned about the devastating effects of HIV/AIDS on Ugandans and called for more efforts to tackle the spread of the pandemic.
Queen Elizabeth is billed to officially open the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting on Friday in Kampala.
Ugandan President, Yoweri Museveni reacted to the Queen's speech, attributing his country's stability, economic, social and political transformation to the enactment of a sound constitution that has been tolerant to all sheds of opinions as well as promotes regular free and fair elections.
Museveni is due to hold a state banquet for the Commonwealth leader in the evening.
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