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EAC Partner States urged to promote harmonious cooperation

ARUSHA, January 14, 2024 – All East African Community [EAC] Partner States have been urged to strive to achieve harmonious cooperation in their undertakings to ensure the people of East Africa remain at the centre of our integration.

According to the EAC Secretary General Dr Peter Mutuku Mathuki, who has issued a press statement, the regional bloc was founded primarily to cooperate for mutual benefit and to promote the welfare of the people of East Africa, including jointly undertaking activities in furtherance of the objectives of the Community.

“The Community’s operational principles provide that, our integration is people-centered and that all our undertakings should strictly observe this spirit.  In the event of any dispute arising between two or more Partner States, it is expected that we use the existing EAC Dispute Resolution Mechanism that fully respect the integrity and sovereignty of our Partner States.”

In a press statement Mathuki calls for the peaceful settlement of disputes between the EAC Partner States. “I … encourage our esteemed Partner States to deploy peaceful settlement of any disputes and restrain, strictly observing the spirit of our Treaty and particularly on peaceful co-existence and good neighborliness,” Mathuki says.

“The Secretariat is closely working with the Office of the Chairperson of the Summit of the EAC Heads of State to provide the necessary facilitation towards peaceful resolution of any arising disputes amongst our Partner States.”

The EAC Secretary General’s press statement follows the recent closure of border points between Burundi and Rwanda.

Rwanda says Burundi had decided to shut its border, weeks after President Evariste Ndayishimye accused Kigali of hosting Red Tabara rebels. Rwandas has rejected the allegations

The rebel group recently claimed responsibility for an attack near Burundi’s western border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo [DRC]. Burundi says the December attack killed 20 people while Red Tabara said on the social media platform X that it killed nine soldiers and a police officer.

Rwandan government spokesperson, Yolande Makolo said Burundi’s border closure violated the principles of a regional bloc to which both are among the Partner States.

“This unfortunate decision will restrict the free movement of people and goods between the two countries and violates the principles of regional cooperation and integration of the East African Community,” Makolo said.

Red Tabara has been battling Burundi’s government from bases in the eastern DRC since 2015.

Relations between some nations within the EAC, which also includes Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, South Sudan, the DRC, and Somalia – have been icy for years.

Uganda and Rwanda reopened their border posts after a three-year closure caused by Kigali’s claim that Kampala was supporting dissents to overthrow the Rwandan government.

The DRC has repeatedly accused Rwanda of backing the armed group M23, which has triggered the displacement of millions of Congolese.

Somalia which is yet to fulfil all requirement for full EAC membership has always had a cold relationship with its neighbour Kenya.

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