Eastern African leaders have, at the sidelines of the African Union Summit, approved the agreement establishing the Eastern Africa Standby Force (EASF) elevating it from the status of a memorandum of understanding.
The leaders signed a protocol for the establishment of the EASF on the sidelines of the 23rd extraordinary African Union summit at Malabo in Equatorial Guinea.
Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, Presidents Paul Kagame (Rwanda), Yoweri Museveni (Uganda), Pierre Nkurunziza (Burundi), Dr. Ikililou Dhoinine (Union of Comoro) and Somalia’s Prime Minister Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed approved the agreement for the establishment of the standby force.
The Minister of foreign affairs of Djibouti Mahmoud Youssouf, Seychelles’ Jean-Paul Adam and Gen Bakry Hassan Sakih, the First Vice-President of Sudan and Kenya’s deputy President William Ruto also represented their leaders at the meeting.
The EASF, which is under the auspices of the African Union, will be used in peacekeeping missions and rapid response to emergencies. It is also intended for the region to resolve conflicts rather than depending on external forces.
EASF will include 12 countries namely: Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, Sudan, Rwanda, Mauritius, Madagascar, Eritrea, Djibouti, Seychelles, Somalia and Tanzania.
“We shall pay our assessed contribution. The money we lose through insecurity in the region is much more than that when we have peace. If you are to compute the money in trade losses because of the instability in Congo, you will find that it is huge,” Museveni remarked.
“Therefore, it is not a question of pledging. It is understanding the comparison between gains and losses,” he said shortly after the leaders endorsed the standby force in a meeting of the heads of state and Government of the Eastern Africa Standby Force that was chaired by Kagame.