The Vice President of South Sudan, James Wani Igga, has appealed to the East African Community (EAC) bloc not to abandon the continent’s youngest state, saying his government is determined to take drastic reforms in order to meet the standards of the Community.
Wani Igga was addressing a delegation of the EAC led by the Secretary General, Amb. Dr Richard Sezibera, that travelled to Juba on Tuesday to enlighten
South Sudanese leaders on the criteria and obligations involved for joining the five-member bloc.
“Don’t reject us, we want to be part of the EAC. As a government, we are committed to taking drastic reforms in order to meet the standards of the bloc,” Igga said on Wednesday.
“We have a lot to learn from the EAC, especially in regard to checks and balances, combating corruption, as well as observing discipline in all the ministries and sectors.”
On July 2, during a ministerial session of the 6th Northern Corridor integration projects held in Kigali, to intensify prospects for
further regional economic integration, South Sudan’s Foreign minister, Dr Barnaba Marial Benjamin Bil, led a delegation of about 25 officials.
South Sudan applied for entry into the EAC in 2011 immediately after its secession from Sudan. Negotiations on its admission resume at the end of the year, in October or November.
Current conflict to be sorted out
Since mid last December, the country is embroiled in a conflict pitting the government of President Salva Kirr and the breakaway Sudanese Peoples Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM/IO) led by his former deputy president, Riek Machar.
The Vice President affirmed that the current conflict in some parts of the country will soon be sorted out to allow the South Sudanese citizens continue with their normal lives and enjoy the fruits of an independence, reads part of an EAC statement.
While officiating at the meeting between the EAC High Level Technical Mission and the South Sudan Accession Technical Sub-Committees held at the Conference Hall of the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs in Juba, Igga said South Sudan still needs support and integration from “older” nations within the region.
He re-affirmed his country’s commitment to join the EAC and urged the technocrats to be at the forefront in sensitising the masses about the benefits accruing from joining the bloc.
At the meeting, Benjamin Bil disclosed that President Kiir had signed a decree, on March 13, appointing a High Level Committee to oversee South Sudan’s accession to the EAC.
Amb. Sezibera informed the meeting that negotiations will be at both the technical and ministerial levels and urged the technocrats nominated to the negotiation team to give proper guidance to their superiors.
He said the return to peace and stability in South Sudan will accelerate the negotiation process, and urged warring parties and development partners to intesify their efforts to end conflict and invest in the socio-economic development of South Sudan.