Thursday, February 10, 2011

EAC and US Africa Centre for Strategic Studies explore areas of collaboration

ARUSHA, Tanzania, February 8, 2011/African Press Organization (APO)

The Director of the Africa Centre for Strategic Studies (ACSS) at the National Defense University in Washington DC in the USA, Ambassador (Rtd) William M. Bellamy paid a one-day working visit to the EAC Headquarters today and held talks with various EAC Officials led by the Secretary General, Amb. Juma Volter Mwapachu.

Amb. Bellamy, who also toured the ongoing construction site of the new EAC Headquarters and the Nyerere Centre for Peace Research, was accompanied by Mary McGurn, the ACSS Interim Director for Community Affairs and Lt. Col. Thomas W. Cook, the Defense Army Attaché at the US Embassy in Dar es Salaam.

The Secretary General was accompanied by the Deputy Secretaries General in charge of Political Federation, Hon. Beatrice Kiraso; and in charge of Finance and Administration, Dr. Julius Tangus Rotich; the EAC Defence Liaison Officers; and other senior officials.

The visit by Amb. Bellamy to the EAC Secretariat was mainly to explore possible areas of collaboration between the two institutions. Welcoming Amb. Bellamy to the EAC Headquarters, the Secretary General said ACSS was a huge resource partner for the EAC in terms of capacity building, networking, developing programmes, information generation and sharing especially for the Nyerere Centre for Peace Research.

Amb. Juma Mwapachu informed his guests that the Treaty for the establishment of EAC identifies peace and security as prerequisites for the success of the EAC Region Integration process. He said the relevance of peace and stability to all the four stages of integration cannot be over emphasized. In light of the evolution of conflicts, crises and other threats to peace and security, there was need to constantly identify the strengths and weaknesses of, opportunities for and threats to the Community, for which appropriate regional responses need to be put in place and build internal capacity for action research to regularly inform decision making.

“Our partnership with ACSS especially in supporting continuous training and capacity development on peace and security issues within the Secretariat and Partner states will be decisively explored”, stated the Secretary General.

Amb. Juma Mwapachu affirmed further that EAC and ACSS partnership will strengthen the region’s strategic capacity to identify and resolve security challenges in the region.

The Deputy Secretary General in charge of Political Federation, Hon. Beatrice Kiraso briefed the Director of the US African Centre for Strategic Studies on the current EAC political affairs initiatives including good governance, human rights, the strategy for regional peace and security, and the operations of the Nyerere Centre for Peace Research.

Col. Micheal Luwogo, on behalf of the EAC Defense Liaison Officers made a presentation on the EAC which focussed on the Defense cooperation that is being underpinned by a Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2001. The process to upgrade the MoU to a full Protocol is ongoing.

Ambassador (Rtd) Bellamy informed the EAC officials that the US Policy toward Africa was mainly geared towards supporting strong and stable democracies and good governance; fostering sustained economic growth and development; strengthening public health; preventing, mitigating, and resolving armed conflict; and finally helping to address transnational challenges.

Director Bellamy reiterated that based on the US policy and in the overall context of forging partnerships for Africa’s future, the ACSS’s mission is to support United States foreign and security policies by strengthening the strategic capacity of African states to identify and resolve security challenges in ways that promote civil-military cooperation, respect democratic values, and safeguard human rights.

Ambassador (Rtd) Bellamy extended invitation to EAC nominated officials to participate in the various programmes being conducted by the ACSS. The Director also pledged to support EAC in developing its strategic plan/or vision once called upon. The two parties agreed to develop further concrete areas of cooperation for implementation.

SOURCE: East African Community (EAC)