The Eastern Africa Standby Force (EASF) on Monday began a one-week policy meeting in Nairobi, Kenya to discuss the roadmap to a joint standby force next year.
EASF is one of the five regional multidimensional forces of the African standby force (ASF) whose mandate is to enhance peace and security in the region.
The EASF Communications Manager Lucie Sewe told The New Times yesterday that the meeting is aimed at examining organisational strategies that will enable a joint force to begin operations next year.
“We need the personnel, equipment and support to enable operationalisation of the force,” she said.
The meeting of experts took place yesterday ahead of the eastern Africa committee of defence and security staff meeting due today.
Sewe said the experts discussed various issues presented to them from different EASF structures and components.
Their recommendations will then be forwarded to the Eastern Africa Committee of Defence and Security Staff (EACDS) for review on Saturday. Defence Minister Gen. James Kabareebe is expected to attend the meeting.
EASF was established as a regional mechanism to provide capability for rapid deployment of forces to carry out preventive deployment, rapid intervention, peace support/stability operations and peace enforcement.
The East Africa region is one of five regions of the African Peace and Security Architecture and is developing a standby force as part of ASF.
Currently, the EASF draws its membership from ten active member states including Burundi, Comoros, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Seychelles, Somalia, Sudan, Uganda and Rwanda.
All these are signatories to the Memorandum of Understanding on the establishment of the Eastern Africa Standby Force (MOU).
South Sudan enjoys the status of observer in EASF since April last year and is soon expected to become a full member.