Tuesday, October 12, 2010

EU appoints representative to EAC

ARUSHA, Tanzania, October 11, 2010/African Press Organization (APO)

The European Union has appointed its Head of Delegation in the United Republic of Tanzania, Ambassador Timothy Clarke, as a representative to the EAC. Amb. Clarke presented his letter of accreditation to EAC Secretary General Ambassador Juma Mwapachu today in a ceremony held at the EAC Secretariat headquarters in Arusha.

In a brief statement he made before receiving Amb. Clarke’s letter of accreditation, Amb. Mwapachu noted that the EU was a key partner of the EAC and remarked that the accreditation of the EU envoy “is not just symbolic but goes to the heart of how we can put a legal underpinning to this relationship”.

The Secretary General added “we are very proud that EU which has enormous knowledge and experience in regional integration has nominated a Representative to the EAC”.

Amb. Clarke, who is the thirteenth envoy to present his credentials to the Secretary General, delivered a letter from the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton, which reaffirmed a desire for deeper and closer relations between the European bloc and EAC. The EU is the EAC’s biggest trading partner, and one of its biggest development partners.

The EU envoy emphasized the importance of regional integration, saying it guaranteed peace, security and better trade for the East African people and added that his organization provides a useful model for the EAC to learn from.

He also used the occasion to reiterate the EU’s commitment to reaching an agreement on the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) with the EAC, saying “we have a common interest in the EPAs” and adding that the EU would like to see political dialogue with the EAC strengthened in this regard.

Meanwhile, addressing himself to a subject that dominated the discussions, Amb. Mwapachu asserted EAC was ready and willing to revive EPA negotiations with the European bloc.

“We are totally committed to restarting negotiations in the EAC,” Amb. Mwapachu declared. Both envoys did observe however that there had been a lull majorly attributed to election exercises taking place in four of the five EAC Partner States. This, they noted, had hampered efforts to meet the initial target of reaching an agreement by the end of November.

Brazil, USA, Denmark, Turkey, Democratic Republic of Congo, Netherlands, Japan, Belgium, France, Canada, India and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees have also appointed representatives to the EAC.

SOURCE: East African Community (EAC)