Northern Corridor meeting ends on high note

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A three-day meeting of senior officials from defence, peace and security and Foreign Affairs clusters under the Northern Corridor Integration Projects (NCIP) ended in Rwanda.

Held on January 15 in Kigali, the meeting adopted a report of joint experts which partly established a coordination mechanism among the three clusters.

The peace and security clusters include Police, immigration and correctional services, among others.

The adopted report also highlights accession procedure to admitting other states to the mutual defence pact and the mutual peace and security pact, and a comprehensive mechanism for the conflict and dispute prevention, management and resolution.

The report will be forwarded to the joint ministerial meeting to be held on the sideline of the 13th Summit in Kampala, Uganda later this year, for consideration before being forwarded to the summit for approval.

Rwanda’s Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Gen. Patrick Nyamvumba said that these developments paves way for South Sudan, which has been actively participating in all meetings as a senior observer, “to accede to the two pacts as a partner state with equal rights.”

Should the Heads of State summit approve the ministerial report, South Sudan will be admitted as a fourth member.

“We meet today when there are important developments worth noting; the ratification of the Mutual Defence and Mutual Peace and Security pacts by partner states. Rwanda deposited and registered the two pacts and other supporting documents, with the African Union and United Nations,” Gen. Nyamvumba said.

“We look forward to welcoming our brothers from South Sudan, and any other state that will want to join us in ensuring sustainable peace and development in our region,” he added.

South Sudan’s Maj. Gen. Marial Nuor Jok expressed his country’s joy and commitment as a senior observer, but added that they are “now becoming a grown up child.”

“It’s time for us to be recognized as full members to actively play our role in the integration process and meet our obligations as full members,” Jok said.

Kenya and Uganda also echoed similar message to having South Sudan on board fully to boost the development agenda of infrastructures.

The Northern Corridor is an initiative by three countries – Rwanda, Kenya and Uganda – to fast track regional development through joint infrastructure, trade, political and economic efforts for greater integration process.

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