KIGALI - The East African Community (EAC) Deputy Secretary General of in charge of Political Federation Beatrice Kiraso has called on politicians to embrace the idea of having foreign policies harmonized among EAC partner states.
Kiraso was speaking yesterday at a consultative meeting with leaders and members of Rwandan political parties in Kigali where they discussed EAC’s ambition of achieving a political federation.
“We are looking at the number of embassies we have in all these different countries. Is it worthwhile?” the EAC official asked, suggesting a single diplomatic mission for partner states in countries outside the EAC.
She added that the move would enhance regional integration among the states while at the same time minimizing on costs incurred on each partner state maintaining a diplomatic mission.
Kiraso disclosed that EAC has already developed a policy on coordination of foreign policy, and that a protocol on foreign policy coordination is in place.
“The member states have not agreed to harmonize their foreign policy yet. They have only agreed to harmonize the coordination of their foreign policies,” she said, emphasizing that the EAC treaty requires the EAC to come up with a common foreign policy.
Participants at the meeting exchanged ideas with some supporting the idea while others suggesting that harmonizing foreign policy cannot be easy given that each country has its own historical background.
“We should have one ambassador representing EAC. It is not necessary having each partner state being represented,” said Odette Nyiramirimo, a member of the Liberal Party (PL)
Delegates at the conference highlighted the need for stronger integration which they said, would rid Africa the label of being a large continent that can’t optimally exploit its huge resources.