Ministers: EAC framework in DRC peace drive crucial

By Guardian Reporter , The Guardian
Published at 06:00 AM Jul 10 2024
Foreign Affairs Minister January Makamba
Photo: Guardian Reporter
Foreign Affairs Minister January Makamba

FOREIGN Affairs ministers of East African Community (EAC) member countries have expressed their commitment to address the humanitarian and security challenges in the Eastern DRC.

The gathering stemmed from directives of the 23rd EAC summit seeking consensus on measures to enhance regional stability and more effective integration initiatives.

The ministers wrapped up their retreat in Zanzibar yesterday, having deliberated on the current status of peace, security, inter-state relations and the EAC integration process, welcoming the fragile humanitarian truce handled by the United States, seeking its indefinite extension.

Veronica Nduva, the EAC secretary general, delivered the joint statement of the ministerial retreat, stressing that sustainable peace and security in the region hinges on a political process.

They recommended the convening of an EAC summit to revitalize the Nairobi process that was augmented by the Luanda process on attaining peace in the DRC, affirming that institutionalizing peace support operations within the EAC framework was a priority.

Agreements were reached on the need for expediting the EAC mutual defence pact and activating sessions of the EAC council of ministers on peace and security, she said, elaborating that these steps are designed to provide timely guidance and coordination on critical security matters affecting the region.

The ministers further addressed interstate relations, acknowledging their impact on regional integration efforts, the communique indicated, specifying that the ministers encouraged using existing frameworks to resolve disputes.

They referred particularly to commitments made by Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo under the Luanda process, as well as between Rwanda and Burundi set for October.

The retreat reviewed progress on the implementation of EAC integration pillars, laying emphasis on political commitment and goodwill to achieve shared goals, the communique noted.

The ministers recommended prompt settlement of arrears owed by partner states to the EAC secretariat, to help resolve financial constraints it faces, while exploring sustainable funding mechanisms to be discussed jointly by Finance ministers, the secretariat and Foreign Affairs ministers.

They shall work on building on the financing model adopted during the 23rd ordinary summit last November, the secretary general indicated.

Praising Tanzania for hosting the retreat, they wished Rwanda well ahead of its upcoming election as vital for solidarity and cooperation among the member states.

On the whole the retreat underscored commitment to regional peace, security and integration, including a positive trajectory for collaborative efforts in the months ahead, she added.