KIGALI - The five Heads of State of the East African Community (EAC) meeting in Kigali Thursday expressed “serious concern” over the political impasse in Zimbabwe.
The meeting, chaired by President Paul Kagame, called on the warring factions to work out an amicable solution in the interests of their countrymen.
“The Summit was of the view that the election in Zimbabwe cannot be a solution under the prevailing circumstances. The Summit urged the ZANU/PF and the MDC leaders to come together and work out an amicable solution through dialogue in the interest of all Zimbabweans,” the presidents said in a joint communiqué after the summit.
This was the first time that the EAC presidents’ summit was being held outside the three founding members of Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania.
Rwanda and Burundi joined the economic block last year. The meeting also gave their support to the ongoing Burundi peace process between the government and Palipehutu-FNL rebels.
It also decided to reduce Burundi’s contribution to the EAC budget for the next two years and the shortfall would be shared equally between the remaining member states.
A proposed EAC Military Field Training Exercise that was supposed to take place this financial year was put on hold until budget requirements could be worked out. The exercise was postponed until the 2009/2010 financial year.
The EAC summit also welcomed the idea of a tripartite summit between the EAC, Comesa and the Southern African Development Community to be hosted by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni in Kampala, Uganda, in October this year.