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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

East African Summit to open in Dar es Salaam: Tanzania official

DAR ES SALAAM Tanzania (Xinhua) -- Tanzanian Foreign Minister Augustine Mahiga said on Wednesday the east African nation will host the 17th extraordinary East African Community (EAC) heads of state summit on Sept. 8.

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and Rwandan President Paul Kagame have confirmed participation.

While Kenya and Burundi will send representatives to the summit to be chaired by Tanzanian President John Magufuli in the commercial capital Dar es Salaam.

The signing of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union (EU) will be on top of the agenda of the summit, Mahiga told a news conference.

Mahiga reiterated that Tanzania will not sign the agreement unless its industrial economy policy is included in the agreement and the exit of Britain from the EU discussed.

He said Tanzania should also be assured that signing the EPA agreement will not affect other trade agreements within the EAC, especially the EAC single customs territory.

"EU is an industrial giant; there are many issues that must be addressed because there are a lot of issues that have changed since we started the negotiations on EPA," said the minister.

Kenya and Rwanda have already signed the pact despite the requirement that countries must sign together as a bloc for the agreement to become operational.

The EAC council of ministers met in Arusha this week and failed to agree on the way forward following Tanzania’s stance on the matter.

European countries have been soliciting EA countries to sign EPA through offering customs-free access to European markets.

Mahiga said the Burundi crisis and South Sudan, a new member of the regional bloc, will also be discussed by the summit.

           

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