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African regional defense, security experts set to meet in Tanzania

Sunday, January 15, 2012

NAIROBI, Jan. 14 (Xinhua)– Defense, security and foreign affairs experts from the five East African countries are set to meet in Tanzania from Monday to consider the final draft of the East Africa Community (EAC) Protocol on Peace and Security, a statement issued here on Saturday said.

A statement from the EAC Secretariat said the EAC sectorial councils on Cooperation in Defense, Inter-state Security and Foreign Policy Coordination will also consider the draft EAC conflict prevention, management and resolution (CPMR) framework as well as the progress on the development of the EAC early warning mechanism.

“Securing and stabilizing our region is high on the EAC agenda as all other integration efforts will not bear fruits without peace and stability,” EAC Deputy Secretary General in charge of Political Federation Beatrice Kiraso said in the statement.

Kiraso said the draft protocol was adopted by the EAC Council of Ministers and referred to this joint meeting of the three sectorial councils for conclusion of policy guidelines on counter terrorism, piracy as well as detention, custody and rehabilitation of offenders.

The Jan. 16-19 meeting is also expected to adopt 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.

“Peace and security are key in ensuring a stable environment in the envisaged Political Federation of EAC,” Kiraso said.

The CPMR Framework includes initiatives on prevention of conflicts, making Early Warning an integral part.

It provides for mechanisms of managing and resolving conflicts when they occur, and establishes a Panel of Eminent Persons who will serve as peace envoys or mediators. “It is high time we, as Africans, develop our own home grown solutions instead of looking to international agencies,” Kiraso said.

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

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Xinhua.
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