24 May 2018

Cameroon: Accusations By U.S. Ambassador - Government Expresses Strong Disapproval

Photo: International Crisis Group
Cameroon military

Following is a press release signed by the Minister of External Relations.

"The Minister of External Relations, H.E. MBELLA MBELLA, informs the national public opinion that he summoned the Ambassador of the United States of America to Cameroon, H.E. Peter Henry BARLERIN, on the 22nd of May 2018.

This follows a statement issued by Ambassador BARLERIN on Friday 18 May 2018, after an ·audience the latter was granted by His Excellency the President of the Republic of Cameroon. In the said statement, the Ambassador notably accused the Cameroonian army of targeted assassinations in the North-West and South-West Regions, while advising the Head of State not to stand for the upcoming presidential elections in order to secure his legacy, following the examples of former Presidents Nelson MANDELA and George Washington.

The Minister of External Relations expressed the Cameroonian government's strong disapprovàl of the Ambassador's outing, which flouts all diplomatie practices and shows disregard, both in form and in content, for rules of civility and the law.

As to what concerns the form of the Ambassador's remarks, it is important to recall that Ambassadors are Envoys Extraordinary of a Head of State to another Head of State. Discussions between a Head of State and an Ambassador therefore represent privileged moments in the diplomatie relations between the two countries, and must be treated with utmost confidentiality.

Concerning the content, the Minister of External Relations refuted Ambassador BARLERIN'S totally unfounded allegations concerning the actions of Cameroon's defence and security forces who, in spite of almost daily harassment and serious human and material losses, have constantly kept, with professionalism and rigour, the rules of engagement and international humanitarian law, in a bid to safeguard the lives and freedoms of citizens, as weil as peace, stability and the territorial integrity of Cameroon.

The Minister also seized this opportunity to remind the Ambassador that the Head of State is the guarantor of the stabillty and the constitution of Cameroon. Ambassador BARLERIN was called upon to respect the Cameroonian people,

notably their sovereign right to choose their leaders, first among whom is the one whose duty it is to rule the country.

He was reminded that H.E. Paul BIYA is not in power by force, for he has always been elected in all fairness in various presidential elections, against numerous and worthy candidates. The Cameroonian people have, in all level-headedness and pragmatism, chosen to continually entrust the Head of State with the responsibility of leading the great and exalting task of building a nation.

The presidential elections coming up this year shall, as usual, be organised following applicable democratic rules, and Cameroonians will at that moment be given the possibility to freely express their choice. They will elect whomsoever they judge apt to guarantee their security and welfare, while assuring the country's development, in justice and in peace. A candidate will never be imposed on the country from abroad.

The Ambassador was equally informed that the Head of State has always expressed his determination to be remembered by Cameroonians as the one who brought democracy and development to Cameroon. Closing the discussion, the Minister of External Relations evoked the cooperation ties between the United States of America and Cameroon, which have always been excellent till date, while hoping that the Ambassador shall contribute to the latter, like his predecessors before him.

Finally, the Minister of External Relations equally underscored the fact that the Cameroonian people remain highly attached to their sovereignty, which leaves no room for any foreign power to interfere or be involved in their internal affairs.

ln response, the Ambassador, while pleading that his statements were misinterpreted by the Press, stated that he had taken note of the objections of the Minister of External Relations, and made it clear that he did not come to Cameroon to effect a change of leadership. He expressed his hopes to make a contribution towards the stability of Cameroon, and stated that under no circumstances would he share the points of view of secessionists."

Yaounde, 22 May 2018

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