The Cabinet Secretary (CS) for Defence, Hon. Aden Duale, today chaired a ‘Friends’ of the East African Standby Force (FoEASF) meeting at the Holiday Inn hotel in Two Rivers Mall, Nairobi.
The meeting, which saw the attendance of delegates from the EASF member states and international partners together with some international organizations, was geared towards bringing together the diplomatic leadership and partners in a bid to discuss the progress and milestones achieved by the institution since its operationalization back in 2014, together with the challenges encountered and the solutions required for the continual improvement of the African Union (AU) organ.
In his address, CS Defence Hon Duale, who also doubled as the Chairperson Council of Ministers of Defence and Security, noted the importance of the occasion in discussing the fluid security situation within the region and, the required capacity of the EASF in dealing with the rising needs and demands that come with cultivating peace and facilitating humanitarian aid. He also highlighted the importance of partnership in matters peace and security as critical, emphasizing the diplomatic weight and experience of the over thirty nations represented in this room and their collective efforts presents an opportunity to forge a united front marching into the future.
“Your presence here is indeed a testament of the commitment you have to our long-standing partnership and friendship for the common good of not only peace and security of Eastern Africa region, but that of the world at large. The Eastern Africa Standby Force (EASF) remains the regional collective security tool available to our region for the maintenance of peace and security including prevention and mediation. Towards this end, the force must retain the highest state of readiness in all its components and remain equipped, trained and ready for not only today’s challenges, but for the future,” he said.
The CS further reiterated the Council of Ministers of Defence and Security of the Eastern Africa Region commitment to upholding its aspirations of ensuring a secure and stable region, noting efforts have been redoubled so as to achieve its stipulated Mandate of ensuring regional security and stability.
Further sharing the CS’s sentiments, the Director of the Eastern Africa Standby Force (EASF) Secretariat, Brigadier (Rtd) Paul Kahuria Njema, elaborated on the importance of collaboration with the EASF, terming it a necessity in effectively deterring and resolving the current security situation in our region and on the continent as a whole. He also added that despite some challenges and gaps, EASF has and continues to make impressive progress in its capacity building and ability to adapt to the ever-changing security environment.
“To ensure our ability to respond promptly and efficiently to these threats, it is crucial that we share a unified understanding of our regional security landscape and embrace a collaborative approach in addressing the existing security challenges that continues to prove challenging. It is therefore our duty to aid in the facilitation of regional peace and this is better achieved through institutions that are solely focused and tailored to maintain peace and security like the EASF,” he said.
Also at the occasion, the Chairperson of the Friends of the EASF representative, Colonel Jens Gynther Lindvig, applauded the Kenyan leadership for their firm commitment and engagement noting Kenya’s wish to gather the Friends of EASF at the ambassadorial level to declare their intentions and aspirations, is a clear indication of this commitment. He also encouraged the integration of civilian, police, and military capacities under a civilian Head of Mission, which works to facilitate a shift from traditional military interventions, to more adept tailor-made missions with the ability to perform societal support functions like upholding law and order, secure humanitarian aid deliveries, protect civilians, register refugees, investigate transnational crime and so on.
The meeting saw the attendance of delegates, representatives from Non-Governmental Organizations and institutions, Senior Military Officers, Officers and Senior EASF civilian leadership among others.