Cameroon: Government Throws Cold Water On Canadian Peace Talks

-Canadians stand by statement , US Throws Weight Behind Talks

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

Rene Emmanuel Sadi, Cameroon’s Minister of Communication and government spokesperson

The Minister of Communication Rene Emmanuel Sadi has refuted media reports that the Central African Nation has agreed to the proposed Canada Peace Talks with non-state armed groups, barely days after The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs had announced the said talks.

“Canada welcomes the agreement by the parties to enter a process to reach a comprehensive, peaceful and political resolution of the conflict. The parties have also agreed to form technical committees to begin work on confidence-building measures,” The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

However, government spokesperson Rene Emmanuel Sadi in a communique on Monday, January 23 said “it has not entrusted any foreign country or external entity with any role of mediator or facilitator to settle the crisis in the North West and South West Regions.”

“The Major Dialogue, which was held in Yaounde in 2019, was an opportunity for the sons and daughters of Cameroon to exchange freely and discuss prospects for a future of peace, security and progress for our country.”

The six years of fighting and strife have displaced nearly 800,000 people in the country, in a conflict over how the largely English-speaking western region of the country should be governed. The conflict has killed more than 6,000 people since 2017 and left 600,000 children without full access to an education according to reports.

According to the United Nations, there has been continued fighting between state security forces and armed groups that has led to the killing and displacement of civilians, including attacks on schools and children.

“The government urges friendly countries to track down and bring to justice those who from broad, are financing and encouraging violence in our country and thanks the government of the United States of America for the actions that have made it possible to bring the perpetrators of such acts to justice and encourages other friendly countries of Cameroon to do same,” Rene Emmanuel Sadi added.

Nearly 800,000 people have been displaced as a result of this crisis in the North West and South West Regions

The office of Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly said it already held three meetings in Canada that included representatives from the government of Cameroon. “We are in touch with the parties and our previous statement stands,” wrote spokesman Adrien Blanchard as quoted by CityNews. “Canada’s sole interest in this matter is a peaceful resolution and a safer future for all civilians affected by the conflict.”

The U.S. Embassy in Cameroon’s capital, Yaounde, said on Twitter on Monday that it welcomed Canada’s announcement of talks to resolve the crisis.

The U.S. Embassy welcomes @melaniejoly’s announcement of talks to resolve the crisis in Cameroon’s Northwest and Southwest regions, as well indications of support from multiple stakeholders.”- the USA Embassy in Yaounde said.

It is thus uncertain what the outcome will be should the Cameroon government decide to stay away from the talks as activists of non-state armed groups are calling for calm.

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