By Julius N. Uma
December 13, 2011 (JUBA) — The Kenyan ambassador to South Sudan,
Cleland Leshore said his country remains in full support of South
Sudan’s recent application to join the East African Community (EAC); a
regional body that currently comprises Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and
- Kenyan ambassador to South Sudan, Cleland Leshore (ST)
In an exclusive interview with Sudan Tribune on the eve of Kenya’s
48th independence anniversary in Juba, the South Sudan capital,
Leshore said admission of Africa’s newest nation into the regional
integration will enhance stability among the member countries.
"South Sudan, as you may be aware, has for long been associated with
the other East African nations historically, socio-economically,
politically and culturally. [Thus] by applying to join the East
African Community, it will be a form of formalizing these already
existing traditional ties," he said.
Last month, South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir Mayardit announced his
country had officially applied for membership of the regional
integration, barely five months after its July 09 independence
According the Kenyan ambassador, current members of the EAC will
mutually benefit from South Sudan’s presence in terms of improvement
in education, road infrastructure and border security reforms. He also
emphasized the need for continued cooperation among the EAC member
countries, describing it as a platform for achieving development.
In a related development, South Sudan’s minister for telecommunication
and postal services, Madut Biar on Monday congratulated the Kenyan
government and its people upon their 48th independence attainment,
reiterating the importance for stronger bi-lateral relations between
the two countries.
Biar, who represented President Kiir at a ceremony organized by the
Kenyan embassy in Juba, lauded also the Kenyan government and the
Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) member countries
for their contributions towards the 2005 peace deal, which ended over
two decades of the bloody north-south civil war.
"As we celebrate this momentous occasion, let us all toast to the
Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki and entire Kenyan population as they
commemorate their 48th anniversary," the minister said, as he raised
his glass amidst cheers from the audience.
Describing Kenya as South Sudan’s strong ally, the telecommunication
and postal services minister said continued cooperation between the
two nations will boost trade, agriculture, investments, capacity
building, and infrastructures, among others.
Currently, plans are reportedly underway to make the landlocked South
Sudan the ‘hub’ of sea ports shipments for East, West and North
Africa. As part of the strategy is the proposal to build highways and
railways passing through South Sudan and connecting Indian Ocean from
Kenya with the Atlantic Ocean in West Africa as well as the Red Sea to
facilitate transit of goods.