South Sudan entry as a full member of the Eastern Africa Standby Force (EASF) will top the 2021-2022 agenda as the organization plans to increase its forces in the region.The EASF organization currently is composed of 10 active Member States including Burundi, Comoros, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, Sudan and Uganda, which are signatories to the Memorandum of Understanding on the Establishment of the Eastern Africa Standby Force (MOU).
South Sudan has since April 2013 been enjoying an observer role in the organization and was expected to become a full member any time soon.
Youssoufa Mohamed Ali, the outgoing chairperson of the EASF Council of Ministers told KTPress in an exclusive interview that “Plans to have South Sudan as a full member are in high gear and this will be top of the agenda in 2021,” Ali said during the just concluded 28th EASF Council of Ministers for Defence and Security meeting held in Kigali.
EASF Director, Brig Gen Getachew Shiferaw Fayisa said that the council has made key decisions for EASF to operationalize its activities and structures thus accepting South Sudan in the membership will not be a hard task.
“They (South Sudan) don’t have to do anything to be accepted as members, once they feel ready to become full members next year, we will welcome them and their contribution to efforts of peace and security,” Brig Gen Fayisa said, in an exclusive interview.
Hassan Omar Mohamed, the newly elected chairperson of the Council of Ministers for the next year (one term) also used his key note address to remind on the need to have a collective effort of all current member states to bring peace especially in the Horn of Africa.
Rwanda’ Minister of Defence, Maj Gen Albert Murasira, who closed the weeklong EASF meeting also raised concerns about the insecurity in the Horn of Africa thus saying:
“It is time to redouble our efforts in confronting these forms of conflict and war in the region and re-align our strategies to emerging conflict situations and scenarios,” Murasira said.
Maj Gen Murasira advised EASF to enhance an early warning system to prevent conflict, identify mechanisms and interventions at various stages with an elaborate crisis response mechanism.