Kenya hosts regional security bosses

August 20, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 20 – Regional Security representatives were meeting in Nairobi on Thursday to discuss the formation of a regional body which will help in resolving disputes and tackle security matters for member countries.

Kenya’s Foreign Affairs Assistant Minister Richard Onyonka said the outfit will serve the Horn, East and Central Africa and will advocate for solving matters diplomatically without military action.

He did not state if the name of the new regional initiative had been agreed upon.

“It is just like in West Africa under ECOWAS, we have ECOMOG. In the South, we have the South African Defense Initiative. We also need to have an outfit which if there is any crisis – political or otherwise – then this initiative will come in and be able to sort out the problem,” he told reporters soon after officiating the opening of the meeting at a Nairobi hotel.

The meeting organized by the United States government draws its membership from the Military, Academia, Civil society and members of the Diplomatic Corps based in Nairobi. The Centre has 85 members.

They are meeting under the auspices of the Africa Center for Strategic Studies.

President Pierre Nkurunziza of Burundi is among those who attended the meeting.

“The emphasis more so, is that critical issues in terms of security within this region will not necessarily have to be solved using military action,” he said.

“Members do believe that we can actually engage our neighbours and make sure that any issues which may portend a disaster can be sorted out,” he added.

Asked if the new outfit was being formed because IGAD and the Great Lakes Region initiatives had failed, he said “I do not believe that IGAD and the Great Lakes region initiatives have failed because if you look at the IGAD arrangement, because if you realize, nobody is talking about war between Congo and Rwanda because the Great Lakes initiative has eventually ended up solving the problem in the Eastern Congo.”

“If you look at the IGAD arrangement, obviously even when people were discussing on possibility that Somalia according to many might be a case which is hopeless, as far as we are concerned under the AU auspices the Somalia issue is fine,” he said.

“There are some positive news from Somalia because finally, it is a matter that is now being given international recognition, the players have finally realised that they have to come to the table and negotiate,” he said.


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