The African Union (AU) Commission has welcomed the latest call by Cameroon’s President Paul Biya to hold a national dialogue to resolve a crisis buffeting the country’s two Anglophone regions.
AU Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat “welcomes the commitment of the President of the Republic of Cameroon, Paul Biya, to organize a national dialogue for a way out of the crisis in the two English-speaking regions of the country,” said an AU statement issued late Thursday.
Faki also encouraged and called on “all Cameroonian actors, including the diaspora and armed groups, to take part in this national dialogue and seize this opportunity to discuss the root causes of this crisis,” the statement said.
He reiterated the AU Commission’s willingness to support the west African nation’s endeavor as it seeks a consensual and sustainable solution to preserve its unity and territorial integrity.
In a rare address to the nation on Tuesday evening, Biya said planned dialogue will be held by the end of September, and will focus on “ways and means of meeting the high aspirations of the people of the Northwest and Southwest regions.”
Cameroonian Prime Minister Joseph Dion Ngute would chair the dialogue, which would bring together government officials and representatives of armed separatist groups.
Government forces and armed separatists have been clashing in the Northwest and Southwest regions since 2017, after separatists declared “independence” of the two English-speaking regions from the largely French-speaking Cameroon.