February 23, 2015 (JUBA) – South Sudan’s bid to join the East African Community (EAC) has reached negotiation level, a key stage for any new member to be admitted to the six-member regional bloc.
“South Sudan, for the progress it has been making for the last three years, has now been elevated to the position of negotiations. It is now admitted to start technical negotiations as from March 23rd,” Agrey Tisa Sabuni, a co-chair of South Sudan’s Accession Committee to the EAC, told reporters in Juba on Monday.
“This is a very serious development. The political consideration has been sorted out particularly South Sudan’s acceptance to abide by the terms of the treaty that brings together member states,” he added.
South Sudan applied to join the EAC after its independence from Sudan in 2011. Its application was, however, delayed as issues of governance, security and judiciary systems were being looked into as the young nation maintained observer status.
Sabuni said South Sudanese president Salva Kiir attended the 16th EAC heads of state meeting held on Friday in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi as an “active observer”.
“South Sudan’s accession to EAC will be properly handled with due consultations [and] sharing of the ideas with key stakeholders,” he said.
The EAC was originally founded in 1967, collapsed in 1977, and was officially revived in 2000. In 2008, after negotiations with the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the EAC agreed to an expanded free trade area including member states of all three organisations.
The regional body is also an integral part of the African Economic Community.
Source: Sudan Tribute
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