Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Geneva Meditation: The Mysterious Secret of the Swiss Authorities

The eyes of Cameroonians have never been so focused on Switzerland. There were demonstrations at the Continental Hotel in Geneva, organized by members of the "Anti-Sardinard Brigade" (Bas). They were widely relayed by social networks following the violent clashes of Tuesday and Saturday.

But Switzerland is also involved in a process of mediation between the Cameroonian government and the leaders of the separatist movement that has plunged Cameroon into a big crisis for nearly three years. Very curious negotiations on which the power of Yaoundé did not communicate much, but that various Swiss media relayed.

Thus, it is in Switzerland that the Cameroonian government has deported the famous dialogue often mentioned during the last weeks, elsewhere, according to some sources, these negotiations even date from several months. The Swiss daily Le Temps, in its edition of Friday, June 29, indicates that "preparatory talks with the Cameroonian separatist leaders took place in the Valais Alps. President Paul Biya has given a formal mandate of mediation in Bern.

The Swiss newspaper claims that while Paul Biya arrived in Geneva on 23 June, some children also arrived at a station in the Swiss Alps in Switzerland, where they were discreetly received by members of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs ( DFA).

Embassy of Yaoundé

How did we get here? According to the article of Time. The process was initiated late 2018 by the separatists. They reportedly approached the Swiss Embassy in Yaoundé to seek mediation. As a result of this first approach, the Swiss government has shown itself willing to play this role. "In April 2019, Paul Biya in person confirms that this facilitation role is welcome. Bern accepts this responsibility and begins to work, "reads in Le Temps.

The Swiss authorities, notably Dfae, will rely on the Center for Humanitarian Dialogue (HD) to engage with the Cameroonian separatist leaders. The fact that Switzerland has never been a colonial power has pleaded for it in the choice of separatists, says one of the leaders in the columns of the Swiss newspaper.

"We are in this situation of conflict partly because of the role played by France and Great Britain during the decolonization. For this reason, we did not want mediation conducted by an EU member state, we fear that it is not impartial. We have been approached by various governments and institutions, but only Switzerland has my confidence, "Ebenezer Akwanga said.

A meeting was held in Switzerland from 25 to 27 June in Saint-Luc, Val d'Annivels.These secret talks took place between the separatist leaders of Cameroon, Dfae and HD. These were preparatory discussions for any negotiations that may take place between the separatists and the Cameroonian government. Before last week's meeting, another was held in Geneva from May 16 to 19.

However, not all separatist leaders agree with this mediation process initiated by Switzerland. Dabney Yerima, vice president of the self-proclaimed Republic of Ambazonia, made some reservations and did not attend the meeting in Saint-Luc, when he had traveled to Switzerland.

Le Matin, another Swiss newspaper, also discussed last week's meeting. According to this newspaper, "in order not to jeopardize the process, the Swiss authorities do not pronounce on the content of the ongoing facilitation efforts". Le Matin, however, indicates that "according to convergent indications relayed by the separatist political activists of western Cameroon, the meeting would have gathered representatives of the leaders Sisuku Ayuk Tabe and Samuel Sako. But also those of the movements of Sclc, Scoop and Scapo ".


Thursday, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres made a statement on the facilitation process led by Switzerland.

"The Secretary-General welcomes the announcement on 27 June by the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of its efforts to facilitate a solution to the crisis in the northwestern and southwestern regions of Cameroon through a process of dialogue. He expressed the full support of the United Nations for this initiative and reiterated his willingness to support it, as appropriate. He encourages all parties to participate in this process and congratulates the Cameroonian authorities and other stakeholders for this positive step. The Secretary-General reiterates the importance of engaging all Cameroonian stakeholders in an inclusive and constructive political dialogue to address the challenges facing the country, "he said.

Source: The Day N ° 2962