“Being the last talks, we will discuss all outstanding issues among others crossing cutting the four principles of the protocol,” says Rwanda’s chief negotiator.
The last round of the East African Community (EAC) Common Market talks are scheduled to resume today in Uganda’s capital of Kampala. The talks will run for the next 10 days and will be held at Imperial Royal Hotel.
The negotiations that have lasted for over a year are to allow free movement of products, services, products and capital by 2010.
Prudence Sebahizi, Rwanda’s Chief Negotiator, said that the country, which joined the EAC barely two years now, is represented by a delegation of 25 negotiators from both government and private institutions.
“Being the last talks, we will discuss all outstanding issues among others cross cutting the four principles of the protocol,” he disclosed.
Some of the outstanding issues include: the issue of land under the right of establishment, and the use of national identities (IDs) to facilitate the free movement of persons.
Members of the High Level Task Force (HLTF) will also deliberate on the liberalisation of services, having postponed it during the Bujumbura talks pending further consultations.
Other issues on the agenda also include the further interpretation of terminologies in the EAC Protocol and other general principles.
Sebahizi said that the HLTF will thereafter draft a report wrapping up all issues discussed since the Common Market talks that begun early last year. “It will cover issues agreed upon and those that a consensus has not been reached,” he explained.
“The draft report will be presented to the Permanent Secretaries, as the Coordination Committee for further deliberations before forwarding it to the Council of Ministers,” Sebahizi added.
Deliberation by the Coordination Committee and the Council of Ministers will be within the last four days.
According to the EAC programme, the final deliberation by the Ministerial Council will pave way for the Protocol’s rectification by the heads of state. The heads of state are expected to decide on some issues that may be still outstanding.
Once issues are synchronised and passed, the EAC Common Market Protocol will be operational by 2010. It is believed that this will be the first step towards the EAC Political Federation by 2012.