The postponement of the summit comes in the wake of a request to that effect by South Sudan, which said it was currently in the process of forming a transitional government which will include opposition groups.
Also postponed is the 41st Extra-Ordinary Meeting of the EAC Council of Ministers that was scheduled to take place from 25th to 27th January at the EAC headquarters in Arusha.
The meeting was supposed to precede and make preparations for the summit.
Rwanda’s Minister of State in charge of the EAC, Amb. Olivier J. P. Nduhungirehe, communicated the decision to postpone the two meetings to EAC Secretary General, Liberat Mfumukeko, in a letter.
“After consultation with the Chair of the Summit of EAC Heads of State, I have the honour to both inform and request you to notify Partner States that the above mentioned meetings (21st Summit of EAC Heads of State and 41st Extraordinary Council of Ministers) have been postponed to a later date due to the request of the Republic of South Sudan,” said Amb. Nduhungirehe.
“A new date will be communicated later after consultations with EAC Partner States,” said Amb. Nduhungirehe,” he added in a statement issued in Nairobi.
In requesting for the postponement, Mou Mou Athian Kuol, South Sudan’s Under Secretary for EAC Affairs in the Ministry of Trade, Industry and EAC Affairs, said that the formation of the new Transitional Government of National Unity (ToGONU) would mean a lot of changes in the government and probably affect its organizational structure.
South Sudan's rival leaders, President Salva Kiir and his former deputy Riek Machar have finally agreed to form a transitional government of national unity, on Saturday, officially putting an end to more than six years of conflict that has killed at least 380,000 people and displaced millions.
The EAC countries are Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda and South Sudan.
Decision-making at the EAC is by consensus with a quorum being constituted by the presence of all member states.
The absence of one member state would therefore mean that there would be no quorum for a summit meeting as per the Rule 11 of the Procedure of the Summit.