The East Africa Community (EAC) Heads of State summit, held in Nairobi has deferred decisions on the application for membership by Somalia and the Republic of South Sudan. This is the second deferment following an earlier one in April during the Heads of State summit in Bujumbura.
The Republic of South Sudan applied for membership of the regional economic bloc after achieving independence last year; Somalia submitted its application in February this year.
The Summit decided that a ministerial committee should visit Somalia and meet Somali leaders to look into the issue. A communiqué after the summit also noted the Heads of State Summit had deferred the decision on South Sudan’s application. The Heads of State considered the verification report which had assessed South Sudan’s eligibility in meeting the criteria needed to join the regional bloc. It then decided to refer the matter to the Council of Ministers to conduct further discussions with the Republic of South Sudan.
The EAC treaty sets out details of adherence to universally accepted principles of good governance, democracy, rule of law, observance of human rights and social justice as requirements to join the East African Community. A country applying for membership also has to have geographical proximity with regional states and is expected to be able to contribute towards regional integration.