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By East African Legislative Assembly (EALA)
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ARUSHA, Tanzania, May 30, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- The Speaker of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA), Rt. Hon Abdirahin Abdi today held talks with Norway's State Secretary/Deputy Minister for International Development in the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Arvinn E. Gadgil.

Rt. Hon Abdi informed Minister Gadgil that the EAC had benefited immensely from trade with the entry of the Customs Union, noting that intra-trade volume had gone up almost four-fold with no loss in actual revenue reported. He however noted that the pace of implementation of the Common Market Protocol was slow and urged the Partner States to speedily implement the same. Rt. Hon Abdi remarked that the Assembly would continue in its push to ensure implementation of the Protocol so that citizens reap from the benefits.

The Speaker maintained that the region was looking forward to a Monetary Union and ultimately a Political Federation. The Speaker lauded Norway for its unconditional support to the EAC noting that Norway pioneered support for EALA at its inception through the Association of European Parliamentarians (AWEPA).

On his part, the Minister noted that Norway was committed to supporting the integration process. He hailed EALA for its contribution to legislation and remarked that the Assembly was instrumental and a key pillar in the integration process.

The deputy Minister was accompanied by the Norwegian Ambassador to Tanzania, Ms. Ingunn Klepsvik and the Assistant Director General for Multilateral Agencies, Ms. Ingrid Glad. Others were Mrs Ukki Ranboll, Senior Adviser, Multilateral Section and Mr. Narve Solheim, Senior Adviser, Secretariat of the Minister. Present was the EALA Senior Public Relations Officer, Bobi Odiko.

The Deputy Minister is expected to meet with the Secretary General of the EAC, Amb. Dr. Richard Sezibera later on this evening.

Norway is one of the twelve Members of the EAC Partnership Fund. The EAC Partnership Fund launched in 2006 is a basket fund which receives contributions from Development Partners to fund activities of EAC regional integration and development. Other Members include Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Finland, France, Germany, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom.