Yaounde (National Times)-The Government of president Paul Biya remains silent over new developments that the Switzerland government is engaged in enhancing dialogue between it and separatists movements to end the crisis in the English-speaking Regions of Cameroon.
In the face of the new development, the government of president Biya has not issued any official statement to either confirm or debunk news of the negotiations. A host of separatists movements have issued a statement in this light.
On June 27th, the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) issued a statement confirming that both parties had request it to act as mediator. The statement indicated that the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (HD) is engaged in enhancing the moves.
The statement from the Swiss held that “at the request of the parties, Switzerland is acting as a facilitator in the crisis in North-Western and South-Western Cameroon. To this end, a second preparatory meeting with various Cameroonian opposition groups took place in Switzerland between 25and 27 June 2019”.
According to the same statement, “Switzerland can establish contacts and provide Communication Channels. Switzerland’s good offices are open to all concerned parties who wish to participate in facilitating the process. Switzerland adheres to the principles of strict neutrality and discretion. In other not to jeopardize the process, the FDFA does not comment on the content of the ongoing mediation efforts”. The statement read in part.
In reaction to same, some 8 separatists’ liberation movements issued a statement on June 27 admitting there were preparatory contacts. The groups assert in their statement that “ under this arrangement, Switzerland is offering its good offices and will serve as mediator in negotiations-which it is important to tress have not started between on the one hand , the Republic of Cameroon and on the other hand Southern Cameroons/Ambazonia”.
The groups maintain that “ our goal remains the same: we seek the restoration of the independence of Southern Cameroons/Ambazonia won before the United Nations (UN) General Assembly on 21st April 1961.
We have committed to the Swiss-led process and will participate in it in good faith. We must be very clear to Ambazonians that we have not ascertained the Republic of Cameroon is signing up to a Swiss-led process in good faith. It is not impossible that the republic of Cameroon could act in bad faith” The separatists write.
They further describe their acceptance of the ongoing moves as “ a leap in the dark to demonstrate our good faith”.
Within the Biya government, no official statement has been issued yet. Some separatists are already suspicious of government’s silence. Activist Mark Bareta issued a reaction early Friday claiming the regime should also publicly acknowledge the development.
“The Swiss Government has spoken. The Humanitarian Dialogue NGO which has been selected by the Swiss Government too has spoken. Ambazonia movements who attended the pre-talks have spoken. Cameroun is silent.
Biya is supposed to sign an official statement telling the world on this initiative. That silence is indicative .They are buying time while committing acts on the ground to completely neutralise us” Bareta argued.
Despite these political gesticulations, the a majority of the affected people across the restive Regions remain craving for peace at all cost. The government has since the crisis started stated that it is open to dialogue to end the crisis.