Posted by: africanpressorganization | 8 March 2010

EAC secretariat clarifies on the Kampala High Level Forum on cooperation in defence / Military intervention was not on the agenda

 


 

 

 

EAC secretariat clarifies on the Kampala High Level Forum on cooperation in defence / Military intervention was not on the agenda

 

 

ARUSHA, Tanzania, March 8, 2010/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The EAC Secretariat has clarified that the High Level Forum held at the Speke Commonwealth Resort, Kampala, Uganda from 22 to 24 February 2010 did not discuss at any point the subject of military intervention to a Partner State to quell civil war and restore order as reported by The East African newspaper of March 8-14, 2010.

 

The EAC Secretariat affirms that the EAC Defence Chiefs never endorsed any policy proposal that creates the framework for military intervention if a member state falls into crisis. The High Level Forum instead made critical inputs in upgrading the EAC Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Cooperation in Defence into a Protocol, says Col. Michael Gayo Luwongo, the Chair of the Defence Liaison Offices (DLO) at the EAC Secretariat.

 

According to Col. Luwongo, the High Level Forum focused on soliciting critical inputs into upgrading of the MoU, as well as enabling participants to understand better the rationale behind scaling up of closer cooperation among the EAC Partner States in defence matters.

 

“Nothing like military intervention to quell riots was discussed at the Forum, instead the Kampala event sought to enrich the contents of the proposed Protocol while retaining key elements from the existing MoU,” says Col Luwongo. 

 

The MoU on Cooperation in Defence signed 10 years ago for example does not contain a provision for joint military intervention in the sovereign matters of Partner States and the proposed Protocol does not seek to change that, according to Col. Luwongo.

 

The Chair of the DLOs urges journalists and media houses to steer clear of sensationalist reporting which may torpedo the achievements so far made in the EAC integration process, specifically in the defence sector. Besides, Co. Luwongo adds, “All the inputs from the High Level meeting are still subject to validation by the Sectoral Council on Cooperation in Defence to guide the drafting of the final Protocol”.

 

Background Information

 

A High Level Forum attended by officials drawn from the Partner States Ministries responsible for Defence, East African Community Affairs, Attorneys General, East African Legislative Assembly and the EAC Secretariat was held at the Speke Commonwealth Resort, Kampala, Uganda from 22 to 24 February 2010.

 

The Kampala High Level Forum, which was opened by Rt. Hon. Eriya Kategaya, 1st Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for East African Community Affairs of the Republic of Uganda on behalf of His Excellency President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni of the Republic of Uganda, was held in the backdrop of a decision of the Sectoral Council on Cooperation in Defense Affairs sitting on 29 May 2009 that directed the EAC Secretariat to expedite the process of upgrading the MoU on Cooperation in Defense Affairs into a Protocol.

 

During its subsequent meeting on 13 November 2009, the Sectoral Council approved an Action Plan for this process, and directed the EAC Secretariat to organize, facilitate, and conduct a High Level Seminar on the upgrading the MoU on Co-operation in Defense into a Protocol.

 

The Kampala event enabled the participants to understand better the rationale behind scaling up of closer cooperation among the EAC Partner States in defence matters and provided critical inputs into the process of upgrading the MoU into a Protocol as well as enriching the contents of the proposed protocol.

 

The Forum participants acknowledged and unanimously agreed to have separate protocols on Cooperation in Defence, and Peace and Security to comprehensively address Articles 124 and 125 respectively of the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community. 

 

The High Level Forum further recommended that the Joint Experts Working Group identifies areas of overlap in the two Draft Protocols and propose where they should best be domiciled.

 

The Secretariat was tasked to convene an extra-ordinary meeting of the Sectoral Council on Cooperation in Defence to receive and consider the seminar recommendations. In this context, the EAC Secretariat has convened an extraordinary Sectoral Council meeting to run from 18-19 March 2010 in Arusha, Tanzania. The Ministerial session is on 19 March 2010 and it is expected that the session will provide guidance, among others, on the way forward with regard to upgrading the MoU.

 

SOURCE 

East African Community (EAC)


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