Speaker of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) Martin Ngoga said on Tuesday that the region has rallied behind concerted efforts to end civil turmoil in South Sudan.
"South Sudan is said to be a volatile country, which is entirely not true. It is a misrepresentation of the young republic," Ngoga told reporters after meeting South Sudan President Salva Kiir during a visit meant to pave the way for preparation of the next phase of its rotational sitting scheduled for next month in the South Sudanese capital of Juba.
EALA was established in 2001 as a legislative organ of the East African Community (EAC) with a mandate of legislation, representation and oversight.
Each of the six member states -- South Sudan, Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania and Uganda -- contributed nine members to the regional assembly. "The country might have security challenges, but not as it is purported," Ngoga said, referring to South Sudan.
He reiterated that the EAC is determined to strengthen President Kiir's administration in areas of legislation and bilateral cooperation.
"We want to change that perception with the help of EALA and other East African Community bodies to reconstruct South Sudan to be like any other member state," Ngoga said.
South Sudan's Minister of Commerce and Industry Moses Hassan said Juba is ready to host the members of the East Africa Legislative Assembly to conduct their first session in the capital.
"We are happy to host EALA here in Juba and demonstrate to the region that we are working toward achieving lasting solution through our neighbors," Hassan said.
South Sudan was admitted into the East Africa Community as the sixth member state in 2016 after undergoing a lengthy vetting process.