EAC consults on Somalia, South Sudan membership applications
The East African Community (EAC) partner states will make further consultations on the applications of South Sudan and Somalia to join the five-nation bloc.
The decision was reached at the close of the meeting of the EAC Council of Ministers, the policy organ of the Community, in the Burundian capital Bujumbura.
Meeting sources told the Independent East African News Agency (EANA) that the Council was of the opinion that the two countries’ bids, which were submitted last year and early this year respectively, needed more time for consideration among the member states –Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi.
“Some partner states need more time to consult with all stakeholders on the report of the Verification Committee on the application by South Sudan,” the sources said.
It was agreed that the report of a verification team sent to Juba last July to assess South Sudan’s preparedness to join EAC will be submitted to the next Council of Ministers meeting in Nairobi in November this year.
On Somalia’s application, the ministers noted that the matter called for more consultations with wider international players involved in Somalia peace initiative. The Council however, directed the EAC Secretary General to submit the application by Mogadishu to the next EAC Heads of State Summit.
Much as enlarging the Community to include Somalia may contribute to regional stability and development, the ministers observed that the issue “needed deeper consultation.” However, the Council considered the fact that there are ongoing pacification efforts, including the Kampala Accord regarding Regional political Peace Initiative and the African Union initiative like the involvement of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).
Somalia submitted its application to join EAC in February this year whereas South Sudan did late last year.
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