Switzerland has agreed to mediate in talks between the government of Cameroon and separatists leaders to seek a solution to the conflict in the North West and South West regions of the country.
At least 1800. persons have been killed and over 530.000 persons displaced a result of the crisis according to the UN with increasing calls for dialogue to end the crisis.
The Swiss government has thus taken the lead just months after the Swiss Ambassador to Cameroon Pietro Lazerri in an audience granted him by the Head of State Paul Biya offered his country’s services to mediate in the conflict.
The Swiss Federal Council announced on Thursday that it was acting as a mediator at the request of the conflicting parties.
“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 25 and 27 June 2019,”
“The statement added that : “The Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA), working in close partnership with the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (HD Centre), is committed to finding a peaceful, lasting negotiated solution to the crisis in north-western and south-western Cameroon. Switzerland was tasked by a majority of the parties with facilitating an inclusive negotiation process. To this end, a second meeting with various Cameroonian opposition groups took place in Switzerland between 25 and 27 June 2019. The aim of the meeting was to prepare the future peace negotiations between the Cameroonian government and the political opposition.
“The FDFA is concerned about the continuing violence in the north-western and south-western regions of Cameroon, which is taking a heavy toll on the civilian population. Switzerland has long been committed, both at bilateral and multilateral level, to finding a peaceful solution to the crisis and to promoting respect for human rights in Cameroon. Switzerland is also committed to providing humanitarian aid to the affected local population and has supported Cameroon in dealing with multilingualism.
“Facilitation is an instrument of Switzerland’s traditional good offices. In this role, Switzerland can establish contacts and provide communication channels. Switzerland’s good offices are open to all concerned parties who wish to participate in facilitation processes. Switzerland adheres to the principles of strict neutrality and discretion. In order not to jeopardise the process, the FDFA does not comment on the content of ongoing mediation efforts.