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EAC prepares for key event

ARUSHA, Tanzania, Sept 14 – The East African Community (EAC) Secretariat is organising a three-day Peace and Security Conference in Kampala, Uganda between October 5 and 7 to among other objectives share and popularise her peace and security framework as well as identify potential security challenges facing the various integration aspects.

According to Deputy Secretary General (Political Federation), Beatrice Kiraso, “the conference will address the various aspects of peace and security from the point of view of the 15 goals identified in the EAC strategy for regional peace and security developed in 2007.”

“A regional conference on peace and security is deemed a necessary step towards unpacking the EAC vision through an open forum as we mark the 10th Anniversary of EAC,” she stressed.

In a press release from the EAC Secretariat, Ms Kiraso said a coordinated approach to complex security challenges calls for dialogue and engagement with various stakeholders.

The EAC Treaty identifies peace and security as a pre-requisite for the success of the EAC region integration process. It has developed the peace and security strategy and is about to conclude a protocol that identifies areas of co-operation among the partner states and the envisaged activities.

“The strategy’s vision is to create a secure and peaceful environment for development and the mission is to provide security within the region through enhanced co-operation,” explains Ms Kiraso.

The statement from the Secretariat’s Corporate Communications & Public Affairs Department said the conference, which forms part of the build-up activities towards the grand EAC 10th Anniversary celebrations in November 2009, is expected to assemble about 300 delegates from the five partner states.

The delegates will be drawn from the ministries of defence, internal security, foreign affairs, justice, EAC affairs, finance, local government, good governance, water resources and environment and institutions that deal with human rights, anti-corruption, electoral processes, representatives of national parliaments, East African Legislative Assembly, East African Court of Justice, East African Law Society, East African Business Council, East African Farmers Federation, umbrella trade unions, centres of excellence and civil society organisations.

International bodies to be represented at the conference include the African Union (AU), United Nations (UN), European Union (EU), International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and other regional economic commissions and institutions.

The conference will cover areas of EAC Peace and Security Architecture, including the specific areas of transnational and organized crimes, conflict management, democracy, good governance and conflicts over natural resources and borders.

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The discussions will also focus on the role of defence services, regional and international co-operation, peace support operations and the role of state/non-state actors among others. The conference is also expected to examine the possibility of establishing an EAC-specific standby brigade.

According to the Arusha communiqué, EAC Summit Chairperson, President Paul Kagame of Rwanda is expected the officially open the conference which will also be attended by the host President, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni.

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