South Sudan’s negotiations to become the sixth partner state of the East African Community (EAC) would be quite tedious, according to the bloc’s Secretary General Richard Sezibera.
Speaking late Tuesday in the capital of Africa’s youngest nation, Juba, Sezibera said the EAC secretariat was committed to working closely with the Government of South Sudan “to ensure a smooth negotiation process” but the process “calls for a lot of diplomacy”.
Sezibera is heading a high level technical mission from the EAC to gain a better understanding of South Sudan’s preparations as well as to provide government officials with guidance on the way forward for the country’s negotiation to join the EAC.
South Sudan applied to join the EAC on 10 June 2011 and the Community’s heads of state summit in November 2012 directed the Council of Ministers to negotiate the country’s admission in conformity with the Treaty Establishing the EAC.
In March 2014, South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir Mayardit appointed a high-level committee, led by Aggrey Tisa Sabuni, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, to initiate the process.
Before concluding its two-day mission Wednesday, the EAC technical team was scheduled to brief South Sudanese ministers and high–level technocrats on the modalities of the EAC accession process.
The team includes EAC Counsel Wilbert Kaahwa, East African Court of Appeal Registrar John Ruhangisa and East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) Clerk Kenneth Madete.
Sezibera has urged the South Sudanese media to fully participate in the EAC-South Sudan negotiation process by reporting objectively on the issues at hand.
“You the South Sudanese and International media have sterling role to get the country to embrace regional integration with passion, dedication and commitment for the benefit of the present and future generations,” he told journalists in Juba.