The New Times (Kigali)

East Africa: MPs Debate EAC Defence Protocols

The Chamber of Deputies Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and Security, last week, said Rwanda will gain greatly from the ratification of two key EAC protocols. The committee started scrutinising the protocols on foreign policy coordination and on cooperation in defence affairs last month.

MP Gédéon Kayinamura, the chairperson of the committee, said a common EAC foreign policy will involve multilateral diplomacy and consular matters.

He was responding to queries from MPs on Rwanda's position on the protocols. "For multilateral diplomacy, this protocol says the countries will always support a candidate from one State in these five countries whenever there is competition from other foreign countries for a position," Kayinamura said.

He was referring to the bloc's past unanimous endorsement of Rwanda's Donald Kaberuka to head African Development Bank.

Consular matters:

Kayinamura said cooperation in consular matters will mean that if a Rwandan national travelled to, say Thailand, and there was no Rwandan diplomatic mission there yet there was a Tanzanian mission, the latter would aid the Rwandan in whatever consular services he or she desired.

On February 5, while tabling the Bills seeking the ratification of the protocols before the Chamber of Deputies, the Minister of EAC Affairs, Monique Mukaruliza, said cooperation in both areas will help the region to pool and use resources in a more efficient manner, and achieve more success than when effort are scattered.

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