EAC leaders adopt report on membership of Somalia

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President Hassan with EAC's secretary general, Peter Mathuki, during the latter's visist to Mogadishu last year

DAR ES SALAAM -- The heads of state of the East African Community (EAC) have adopted a report of the verification of the application of Somalia to join the regional bloc, the EAC said in a statement on Thursday.

The adoption of the report was made during the 21st extra-ordinary summit of the EAC heads of state summit held in the Burundian capital Bujumbura, said the statement issued by the EAC headquarters in Tanzania's northern city of Arusha.

The statement said the summit directed the EAC Council of Ministers and the EAC secretariat to start negotiations with Somalia and report to the next ordinary summit of the EAC heads of state.

Somalia made its first application to join the EAC in 2012, said the statement, adding that the verification mission was not conducted immediately due to various reasons.

On Jan. 25, the EAC launched the verification mission to assess Somalia's readiness to join the bloc, said the statement, adding that the objective of the verification team comprising experts from the EAC member states was to establish the country's level of conformity with the criteria for admitting foreign countries as provided in the Treaty for the establishment of the EAC.

Somalia shares borders with one EAC member country of Kenya, and has strong historical, linguistic, economic, and socio-cultural links with all the EAC member states, said the statement.

According to the statement, Somalia has the longest national coastline of over 3,000 kilometers in Africa, linking Africa to the Arabian peninsula, which the region will tap into to increase intra-regional trade.

The EAC has seven member states, namely Burundi, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Tanzania.

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