Rwanda: African Leaders Back Creation of Eastern African Standby Force

East-Africa-LeadersAfrican Heads of State and government have supported the creation of a well-equipped standby force to help in tackling security challenges in the region. The leaders meeting in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, said Africa required a deployable standby force to combat new security challenges. President Paul Kagame chaired the 3rd extraordinary meeting of the Eastern African Standby Force Assembly. Meant to enhance security in the Eastern Africa region, the East African Standby Force will be composed of military, police and civilians serving as regional mechanism to ensure rapid preventive and intervention deployment for peace and stability in the region. Opening the session, President Kagame reiterated the need for the region to work together to solve common security challenges on the continent. The meeting was attended by Presidents Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, Pierre Nkurunziza of Burundi, Ikililou Dhoinine of Comoros and Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto. Others were Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn of Ethiopia, Prime Minister Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed of Somalia, First Vice-President Bakry Hassan Salih of Sudan, Minister Mahmoud Ali Youssouf of Djibouti and Minister Jean Paul Adam of Seychelles. President Museveni stressed the importance of investing in peace, adding that the high financial cost of ensuring peace remains far less than the price people continue to pay for insecurity. All member states of the Eastern African Standby Force committed to deploying all means to ensure the full operational capacity of the force by December 2015. Uganda, Burundi and Rwanda pledged one battalion each with Rwanda pledging to provide medical personnel. Conceptualisation: Mooted in 2005, the East African Standby Force will be composed of 10 member states, including Burundi, Comoros, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, Sudan and Uganda with South Sudan scheduled to join the force. The East African Standby Force will work to contribute to regional and continental peace through a regional conflict prevention, management and resolution capability able to respond effectively to crisis within Eastern Africa and across the African continent. As one of the five regional multidimensional Forces of the African Standby Force, the Eastern African Standby Force will form an integral part of the Peace and Security Council and as part of the African Peace and Security Architecture. Meanwhile, during his second day in Malabo, President Kagame also attended the opening ceremony of the African Union Summit where members discussed the summit’s theme of transforming Africa’s agriculture for shared prosperity and improved livelihoods through harnessing opportunities for inclusive growth and sustainable development. *allafrica]]>

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