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EAC adopts two major instruments for regional peace and security

By East African Community (EAC)
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ARUSHA, Tanzania, January 24, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- An EAC joint meeting of the sectoral councils on Cooperation in Defense, Inter-state Security and Foreign Policy Coordination over the weekend adopted the Protocol on Peace and Security and the EAC Conflict Prevention, Management and Resolution (CPMR) Mechanism after concluding a four-day meeting in Arusha.

The EAC Peace and Security Protocol identifies, among others, at least 20 objectives for fostering regional peace and security. These include combating terrorism and piracy, peace support operations, prevention of genocide, disaster management and crisis response, management of refugees, control of proliferation of small arms and light weapons and combating transnational and cross border crimes.

Others include addressing and combating cattle rustling, training programmes for security personnel, dispute settlement and regional and international co-operation in peace and security matters.

“Securing and stabilizing our region is high on the EAC agenda as all other integration efforts will not bear fruit without peace and stability,” the EAC Deputy Secretary General in charge of Political Federation, Hon. Beatrice Kiraso, stated when opening the joint meeting.

The final draft of Peace and Security Protocol will be tabled for consideration at the next EAC Council of Ministers meeting due in two months.

The EAC's CPMR Mechanism on the other hand includes initiatives towards prevention of conflicts, making early warning an integral part. It provides for mechanisms of managing and resolving conflicts when they occur.

According to Hon. Kiraso, the draft protocol was received by the EAC Council of Ministers and referred to this joint meeting of the three sectoral councils for policy guidance on counter terrorism, piracy, detention, custody and rehabilitation of offenders as well as peace operations.

Other issues also considered at the joint meeting included the progress on the development of the EAC Early Warning Mechanism and the Eastern and Southern Africa/Indian Ocean Maritime Security Strategy and Action Plan, which has been designed to help combat piracy in the Indian Ocean.

The strategy was developed collectively by the EAC, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) in 2010.

Under Article 124 of the Treaty, the EAC Partner States agreed that peace and security are pre-requisites to social and economic development within the region and vital to the objectives of the Community.