DAR-ES-SALAAM-- The Presidents of Uganda and Tanzania met here Thursday for talks focussing on co-operation between the neighbouring countries in infrastructure development and trade during President Yoweri Museveni's one-day visit to Tanzania.

President Museveni said the recent signing of a peace agreement between rival factions in South Sudan will ensure that peace prevails in the East African region, and that refugees can return home and embark on their normal lives.

We hope that with the support of the United Nations in regards to food and basic essentials, the refuges can return home by January and take advantage of the rains that start in March in order to grow some food, he told a joint media conference shortly after a closed-door meeting at State House Dar-es-Salaam.

Museveni noted that he briefed his counterpart about the recent signing of the peace agreement in South Sudan and the situation in Burundi about refugees, adding that continued conflict has affected trade and retarded development.

Museveni who is also the current Chairman of the East African Community (EAC) said he requested for the meeting with President Magufuli to brief him about the outcome of the recently concluded BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) Summit in Johannesburg where he made a case for the BRICS countries to invest in the EAC which provides high returns on their investments, higher than Europe, Latin America and Asia.

Investment in infrastructure development is key, especially in roads, railway and electricity. The Chinese have already helped us construct two hydro-power dams in Karuma which is 600 megawatts and Isimba 183 MW.

Museveni also made a case for direct flights from East Africa to Asia and China saying they would open up markets, especially in tourism, adding that if the EAC brought in one million tourists from China, it would be a huge boost.

Magufuli said they discussed fast-tracking the oil pipeline project from Hoima in western Uganda to the Tanzanian port of Tanga, as well as the refugee situation in Burundi and Tanzania, adding that many refuges are now returning to their homes. He commended Museveni who is the lead facilitator on the situation in Burundi and a guarantor of the South Sudan peace process.

He said they also discussed the issue of sugar trade in the region, saying they should guard against too much sugar being dumped in the region and killing the region's industries and employment opportunities. He said that regional leaders must tackle the issue of illicit sugar and smuggling.