France has reiterated its call to the authorities in Cameroon to embark on an all-inclusive political dialogue to end the secessionist conflict raging in its English-speaking regions.In a statement by its Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs, France affirmed that it is pursuing its bilateral efforts, in consultation with its main partners, to convince the Cameroonian government to take initiatives towards a lasting political solution to the crisis.
“France is following the situation in Cameroon with great attention. It does so because Cameroon is a friendly country, important for the stability of Central Africa and home to more than 6,500 French nationals. The situation in the English-speaking regions of Cameroon continues to deteriorate. France is very concerned about this development,” the statement said.
It described the loss of humam lives in the conflict as heavy and warned that the humanitarian situation is critical with 35,000 refugees in Nigeria and 530,000 internally displaced persons, and economic activity collapsing in the northwest and southwest of Cameroon.
According to Paris, the response to the English-speaking crisis “is not military or security, but political.”
France is closely following the situation of former presidential candidate Maurice Kamto.
The leader of the opposition Movement for the Revival of Cameroon (MRC) was arrested on January 28 with nearly 200 of his supporters.
France expressed its deep concern over his indictment in February for acts of rebellion, insurrection and hostility against the country.
France said the Cameroonian opposition, of which Maurice Kamto is one of the leading figures, must be able to express itself freely, in accordance with the law.
The statement by France said it is worrisome that several hundred of Kamto’s supporters have been arrested during solidarity marches in several cities in Cameroon.
The Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs’ statement comes at a time when the new French ambassador to Cameroon, Christophe Guilhou, is active on social media in a bid to strengthen relations between Paris and Yaounde.