Cameroon: External Relations minister summons US Ambassador, debunks viral outing

Cameroon’s external relations minister Lejuene Mbella Mbella summons the US Ambassador to Cameroon Peter Henry Balerin on the heels of his latest outing following his encounter with the head of state Paul Piya on 17th may 2018 at the unity palace.

On an official visit to the Unity Palace on May 17 2018 to transmit President Trump’s best wishes for the celebration of Cameroon’s national day, US Ambassador to Cameroon Peter Henry Balerin had great discussions with President Paul Biya.

On a press release published on the official website of the US Embassy in Cameroon, the Ambassador revealed Issues discussed with the president which included

  1. Need to treat US companies in Cameroon fairly
  2. Fight against HIV/AIDS, malaria, and preventing, detecting, and responding quickly to other infectious diseases like avian influenza.
  3. Progress efforts in the fight against insecurity – Boko Haram
  4. Full investigation of alleged torture of a prisoner by Cameroonian forces and the need to punish the guilty.
  5. Need for the Government and Anglophone separatists to listen to each other in order to end the ongoing crisis
  6. Government’s actions in North west and south west regions: targeted killings, detentions without access to legal support, family, or the Red Cross, burning and looting of villages.  Separatists’ murders of gendarmes, kidnapping of government officials, and burning of schools.

And finally,

  1. A good faith advice to president Biya to live a “legacy”

Among the many vital issues discussed with the president, what caught the attention of local press, national and international public opinion was issue 6 and 7 where (6) the diplomat blamed the government for summary executions and targeted killings in the North west and South west regions as well separatists for murders and kidnappings. (7) Advised Paul Biya to consider living a legacy that he will be remembered for by stepping down like Nelson Mandela and George Washington.

Finally, the President and I discussed upcoming elections.  ‎I suggested to the President that he should be thinking about his legacy and how he wants to be remembered in the history books to be read by generations to come, and proposed that George Washington and Nelson Mandela‎ were excellent models (H.E Peter Henry Balerin).

The diplomat’s statements which have gone viral on local blogs, traditional Media has been taken as a grievous fault by the government of Cameroon.

In this regard, the minister of external relations summoned the US Ambassador and debunked his outing as unfounded.

In a press release dated 22 may 2018 Cameroon’s foreign affairs minister Lejuene Mbella Mbella categorically states with discontent:

The minister of external relations expressed the Cameroon government’s strong disapproval of the Ambassador’s outing, which flouts all diplomatic practices, and shows disregard both in form and in content for rules of civility and the law

All in all, analyzing the minister’s two pages press release there are three (3) central messages in it:

  • The minister condemns the Ambassador for bridging diplomatic principles – having declassified classified information between two states, USA and Cameroon
  • The minister condemned the ambassador’s accusation of the actions of Cameroon’s defense forces in the military pursued of calm in the North West and south west regions of the country.
  • The minister reminds the Ambassador of how advance Cameroon’s democracy is where according to him the ruling president is there by the sovereign “will of the people”.


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