• Mbeki receives warm welcome in Uganda

Mbeki is spearheading the political, economic and security integration of the countries in the Horn of Africa.
John Semakula
Journalist @ New vision
Mbeki is spearheading the political, economic and security integration of the countries in the Horn of Africa.
 
Thabo Mbeki. File photo
 
Former South African President Thabo Mbeki has commended Ugandan for the warm reception he got during his ongoing consultation on the integration of the Horn of Africa.
 
Mbeki, who is the head of the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel on the Horn of Africa (AUHIP) made the remarks on Wednesday at a press conference held in Kampala.
 
The press conference was called by the panel to brief journalists about the progress of the consultations with the Ugandan government which climaxed on Wednesday.
 
Mbeki's panel is spearheading the political, economic and security integration of the countries in the Horn of Africa.
 
Mbeki noted at the press conference that while in Uganda, he had met key groups of people starting with President Yoweri Museveni and the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga.
 
He also consulted with the members of the Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs, civil society organisations, the business community and Africa's diplomats in Uganda.
 
The heads of state of the African countries supported the integration of the Horn of Africa in 2013 and the United Nations too is behind the move seen as a building block towards the integration of the continent.
 
Mbeki noted that the panel chose to consult widely in a bid to ensure that all their views are incorporated in the final report that will show how to move forward.
 
After concluding with the consultations in Uganda, Mbeki's team is expected to visit other countries in the region including Sudan, South Sudan, Djibouti and Ethiopia before coming up with a detailed report on the integration.
 
However, Mbeki observed that their plan to fast-track the integration could be hindered by challenges such as inadequate funding and conflicts.  
 
One such conflict is the standoff in Sudan between the military and civilians following the overthrow of former President Omar al-Bashir. "We shall have to wait until after the army and the civilians have struck a deal before taking the consultations in Sudan," he said.
 
Prior to visiting Uganda, Mbeki's panel held similar consultations in Somalia, Kenya and also met with the African Union Chairperson President Abdel Fattah Saeed Hussein Khalil El-Sisi in Egypt who they said supports the idea.
 
Mbeki was accompanied to the press conference by Ambassador Mohamed Guyo-IGAD's Special Envoy for Somalia, Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden and Pauline Onunga Adero from the UN Office of the Special Envoy of the Horn of Africa. END

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