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Cameroon-US Military Game Of Words: Ambassador Assures Gov’t Of ‘Security Cooperation, State Dept Suspended Military Aid

Cameroon (National Times)-The US Ambassador to Cameroon, Peter Henry Berlerin, met with Cameroon’s Communication Minister, Rene Emmanuel Sadi, on Thursday, following the announcements of withdrawal of aid by the US Government to the Cameroonian military.

At the end of the meeting, both Peter Barlerin and Rene Sadi played with words but avoided mentioning the real subject – suspension of military aid. The Ambassador announced that cooperation with his country and Cameroon is good and the US Government would sustain “security cooperation” with Cameroon.

“Relations between Cameroon and the US are excellent and long-lasting. We aim to continue with that relationship….we are not going to stop our security cooperation with Cameroon,” Ambassador Barlerin said.

He refused to answer further questions from reporters but directed them to the Embassy’s Press Secretary.

It was a similar well coded diplomatic-styled message said by Rene Sadi. “The US has no plans to stop or reduce military cooperation with Cameroon,” Rene Sadi said.

However, both the Ambassador and the Minister avoided the words “military aid.” According to the report by the CNN as informed by State Department (Foreign Ministry) Officers, the US Government would not be stopping cooperation with Cameroon but would suspend “military aid” to the Cameroon military.

The statement from State Department was specific naming the affected areas including suspending the “provision of four defender boats and nine armored vehicles, and the upgrade of a Cessna aircraft belonging to the Rapid Intervention Battalion,” or BIR and the  US is looking at withdrawing about $17million (about 9billion FCFA) of aid to Cameroon.

In the meantime, certain aspects of the cooperation would continue especially in maritime security which the US Government believes it would be difficult to be diverted to the restive Anglophone Regions.

In pure diplomatic style, the Ambassador was merely assuring the Government of Cameroon of continuous “cooperation” especially in the fight against terrorism but certain aspects of military aid deemed to be used in committing human rights abuses in the North and especially in the restive Anglophone Regions which have never been part of the US security assistance scheme would be suspended. State Department officials have also warned that more would be done if the Government does not show good faith in upholding human rights.

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