African defence ministers vow to enhance peace in region

Nairobi, Aug 18 (IANS) Defence ministers from East African countries have wrapped up their meeting here vowing to enhance peace and security in the troubled region.

The ministers met to discuss effective strategies to strengthen an Eastern African Standby Force (EASF) created by the African Union to promote regional peace and stability, reported Xinhua.

The meeting came after the region's leaders in April agreed to set up a 5,500-strong rapid reaction force to help end wars and civil conflicts on the continent.

Leaders and officials from Djibouti, Ethiopia, Somali, Sudan, the Comoros, Eritrea, Rwanda, Madagascar, Kenya and the Seychelles signed a deal on April 11 in Ethiopia, outlining the mission's legal and policy details together with sources for its $2.5 million annual budget.

EASF is one of the five regional components of the African Standby Force (ASF) established by the African Union for the purpose of containing conflicts and enhancing peace and security on the continent.

The ASF, mooted about 10 years ago, was meant to be a sort of a rapid reaction force that would have an early warning mechanism, for instance sending an advance party of conflict resolution and peace enforcement experts in a county showing signs of imminent conflict.

It is planned to be able to deploy in two weeks in cases of sporadic conflict and within 30 days of approval by the Africa Union Commission for normal operation.

"Currently, EASF draws its membership from 10 active member states including Burundi, Comoros, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, Sudan and Uganda," said Brig. Gen. Cyrille Ndayirukiye, the director of EASF Coordinating Mechanism (EASFCOM).

Different donors have already reportedly offered financial assistance to build the force that is expected to be ready for deployment by 2015 in conflict resolution missions.

Similar training are being held by various countries under regional blocs like the South African Development Community, the Economic Community for Central African States and the Economic Community of Western African States.

It is envisaged that by 2015, these regional blocs will have developed the capacity of their armies to constitute a regional force for the African Union capable of responding to any eventuality.

ASF has five brigades compromising of civilian, military and police components - divided among the five regional blocks. Progress in establishing full brigades varies from region to region.

ASF's full actualization has been postponed nearly three times; first in 2008, then 2010, 2013 and now has been put to 2015.

AU officials say the launching of the new force still requires time, additional military expertise, financial and equipment support. The force will also require intelligence capability to be effective.

It is estimated that conflicts in Africa cost the continent over $300 billion between 1990 and 2005, an amount equivalent to all the international aid received by sub-Saharan Africa in the same period, according to a study by Oxfam International, the International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA) and Saferworld.

Kenya's Cabinet Secretary for Defense Rachael Omamo, who spoke during the 15th ordinary meeting of the Council of Defence Ministers on Saturday, said the region is not insulated from complexities of life that bring about social instability, upheavals and general insecurity.

Events in the Great Lakes region, Somalia and Sudan bear witness to this testimony, she added.

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

Jadeja spins out Rajasthan in close chase

Jadeja spins out Rajasthan in close chase

IPL 7, GAME 10—Chennai beat Rajasthan by 7 runs after last-over scare. More »

Cleaning up the game starts with fans

Cleaning up the game starts with fans

... because, as recent events reveal, the BCCI has little intention of doing it. More »

Hope to be fit for next game - Kevin Pietersen

Hope to be fit for next game - Kevin Pietersen

With two heavy defeats at the hands of Bangalore and Chennai, Daredevils currently languish near the bottom of the table. More »

Chandimal axed as T20 captain, Malinga takes over

Chandimal axed as T20 captain, Malinga takes over

Sri Lanka's cricket selectors on Wednesday sacked Dinesh Chandimal as Twenty20 captain and replaced him with Lasith Malinga, while Angelo Mathews was… More »

'A blow to BCCI, could hurt autonomous status'

'A blow to BCCI, could hurt autonomous status'

The Supreme Court prefers that the Justice Mudgal panel further investigate the IPL corruption scandal. More »

Have the ECB played an unfair game?

Have the ECB played an unfair game?

Money talks, but it is in light of this ICC shakeup that the ECB's act of soliciting of another team's coach deteriorates from free-market aggression to… More »

Perfect Punjab trounce Hyderabad

Perfect Punjab trounce Hyderabad

IPL7, GAME 9—Maxwell (95, 43b), Balaji (4-13) set up 72-run win. More »

Mudgal panel drops bombshell in court

Mudgal panel drops bombshell in court

The Mukul Mudgal probe committee dropped a bombshell in the Supreme Court on Tuesday by making a sensational claim that it was forced to stop audio recording… More »

Farbrace quits for England post

Farbrace quits for England post

He will assist Peter Moores who was unveiled as the new England coach on Saturday. More »

Moin appointed to manage Pakistan team

Moin appointed to manage Pakistan team

Pakistan on Monday reappointed Moin Khan as chief selector and manager of the national team, a week after fellow former captain Rashid Latif turned down… More »

Chennai smash Delhi for first win

Chennai smash Delhi for first win

IPL7, MATCH 8—Raina-led middle order, superlative catching give CSK a 93-run win. More »

SC asks Mudgal committee to continue

SC asks Mudgal committee to continue

Mukul Mudgal has communicated to the court his willingness to take up the investigation and has been asked to specify the terms and modalities on April… More »

'BCCI reputation lowest in 80 years'

'BCCI reputation lowest in 80 years'

The former BCCI president says he was "disillusioned" by the happenings at the emergent working committee meeting on Sunday. More »

Injured Bravo to miss rest of IPL

Injured Bravo to miss rest of IPL

Dwayne Bravo is set to be sidelined for at least four weeks due to a shoulder problem. Bravo sustained the injury when attempting a catch on the boundary… More »

NZC contemplates domestic revamp

NZC contemplates domestic revamp

New Zealand Cricket has put forward a proposal to reinvent its domestic structure and allow up to 49% private investment into the six major associatio… More »

Punjab pull off another big chase

Punjab pull off another big chase

GAME 7, SHARJAH—Maxwell, Miller, Pujara chase down Rajasthan's 192. More »

T20 test for Cheteshwar Pujara

T20 test for Cheteshwar Pujara

The class act from Saurashtra may have to rethink his approach to the mannerless format. More »

Special meeting to replace Srinivasan

Special meeting to replace Srinivasan

The BCCI is likely to convene a special general body meeting (SGM) in May to replace N Srinivasan on the board's disciplinary committee. More »

Roach escapes injury after car crash

Roach escapes injury after car crash

The West Indies fast bowler lost control of his BMW sedan due to slippery road conditions in his native Barbados on Saturday. More »

Shastri in proposed IPL probe panel

Shastri in proposed IPL probe panel

Some members stressed on the need for proposing names with an "impeccable record and clean image". More »

Day of Supreme reckoning

Day of Supreme reckoning

Apex court to decide on BCCI’s proposed new committee today. More »

Panel can help clean mess: Raghavan

Panel can help clean mess: Raghavan

The former CBI Director is one of the three candidates proposed by the BCCI to head the enquiry into the IPL betting and spot-fixing scandal. More »

Repose faith in Indian coaches

Repose faith in Indian coaches

All of them cost plenty of dollars which I feel is unnecessary for a two- month tournament, says former cricketer Yajurvindra Singh. More »

Cook relieved after period in limbo

Cook relieved after period in limbo

The England captain is looking forward to a fresh start after a dispiriting Ashes defeat last year. More »