10, January 2019
Members of the diplomatic corps in Cameroon on Wednesday urged President Paul Biya to settle the ongoing conflict in the two English-speaking regions of Northwest and Southwest of the country through “inclusive dialogue.”
“The diplomatic corps counts on your wisdom to offer a peaceful and lasting solution to the current crisis in the Northwest and Southwest regions of the country,” Paul Patrick Biffot, Gabonese ambassador to Cameroon and head of the diplomatic corps in Cameroon said.
Biffot made the remarks when talking with Biya during a traditional ceremony at the presidency to wish the president happy new year.
“Open and inclusive dialogue and dedicated role of the civil society and the implementation of the recommendations of the National Commission for the Promotion of Bilingualism and Multi-culturalism will be in our view an important element of such a process.” Biffot added.
He praised the president for liberating some 289 Anglophone detainees and expressing willingness to accelerate the decentralization process but insisted that “more needs to be done”.
“We take this opportunity to plead for the improved access of humanitarian actors to Northwest and Southwest regions. We stand ready to accompany your country to achieve lasting stability and peace and to support the reforms you may wish to implement,” Biffot said.
During his end-of-year speech to the nation, President Biya said he was ready to continue dialogue with “people of goodwill” in the troubled regions but warned that armed separatists unwilling to drop their arms will be “neutralized.”
Anglophone armed separatists fighting to secede from Francophone-majority Cameroon and create a new nation called “Ambazonia” have been clashing with government forces since November 2017.