EAC leaders call for peace talks between the Sudans
Sudan and South Sudan should return to the negotiating table and resolve their differences amicably, East African Community Heads of State said yesterday.
Meeting at the 10th Extraordinary Summit of the EAC Heads of State at the Ngurdoto Mountain Lodge in Arusha, Tanzania, the regional leaders urged Khartoum and Juba to settle the issues that remain unresolved under the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).
The deal, which was signed in Kenya, was the basis for last year’s referendum that resulted in South Sudan’s secession from Sudan. But tension has risen between the two nations lately, particularly over disputed oilfields that lie close to undefined borders.
“The Summit expressed concern on the ongoing conflict between the Republic of Sudan and the Republic of South Sudan and appreciated the role partner states have played in resolving the conflict in the Sudan,” a communiqué released at the end of the one-day summit read.
The summit meeting was attended by Presidents Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, Paul Kagame of Rwanda, Mwai Kibaki of Kenya, Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania while Burundi was represented by first Vice President Therence Sinugurunza.
The leaders also “expressed (their) determination to continue to play a positive role in resolving the conflicts in countries that border the EAC.”
The meeting also considered the report of the council of ministers on the application of the republic of South Sudan to join the East African community, and the proposed attainment of a Single Customs Territory.
“The leaders directed the council of ministers to expedite the process of verification of South Sudan’s application and report at the 14th ordinary summit in November 2012.”
At the same meeting, the heads of state appointed Uganda’s Jesca Eriyo as the new EAC Deputy Secretary General and renewed the contract of Jean Claude Nsengiyumva as Deputy Secretary General – Productive and Social Sectors.
The regional leaders further said that the London conference on Somalia of February 2012 was a “turning point in the country’s quest for peace and stability.”
They also appreciated the role of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) together with the transitional government of Somalia for “returning peace to large areas of Somalia.”
They called on the Somali government to “consolidate the benefits of peace to the benefit of the people of Somalia.”
Also the East African Community protocol on co-operation in defense was signed and the leaders directed that it be ratified and “instruments of ratification deposited with the secretary general” by end of November 2012. This according to the communique, will be followed by negotiations on a mutual defence pact.