In message to Diplomats: Biya says dialogue, negotiation key to ending conflicts

By Doh James Sonkey

The President of the Republic, H.E Paul Biya opened the series of New Year wishes ceremonies last January 6, 2023 as he received New Year wishes from Members of the Diplomatic Corps and National Dignitaries at Unity Palace in Yaounde.

Members of the Diplomatic Corps set the ball rolling at the Hall of Ambassadors with a speech from the Dean, H.E. Paul Patrick Biffot, Gabonese Ambassador to Cameroon. He praised the leadership of President Paul Biya in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and his handling of sub-regional issues, including the crisis in the Central African Republic.

Ambassador Paul Patrick Biffot equally commended Cameroon’s resilient economy – affected by the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. He also lauded her brilliant organisation of the Africa Nations Cup and participation at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

President Paul Biya responded immediately and thanked the Heads of Diplomatic Missions for their warm message. He expressed joy on meeting them after a two-year break due to the COVID-19 safety measures.

Prime Minister, Head of Gov’t, Chief Dr Joseph Dion Ngute wishing well to President Paul Biya

The Head of State made an appeal for the international community to address the root causes of conflicts in Africa and establish coherent financial mechanisms in order to boost the development of the continent.

“I would like to reiterate here that Cameroon remains committed tothe peaceful resolution of conflicts through dialogue and negotiation,” he emphasised.

The Head of State’s address was followed by handshakes and brief chats with all the diplomats.

The second phase of the ceremony to present New Year wishes to President Paul Biya was held at the Banquet Hall with 35 delegations of the national constituted corps. These included, among others, the President of the Senate, the President of the National Assembly, the First President of the Supreme Court, Members of Government, Defence and Security officials, Heads of political parties, trade unionists, religious leaders and senior officials of the Presidency of the Republic.

Full Speech

– The Dean of the  Diplomatic Corps

First and foremost, I would like to thank you for your kind words addressed to me and to my country.

I am also pleased to see you again, two years after our last meeting, due, as you are aware, to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Distinguished Members of the Diplomatic Corps,

The year 2022, which has just ended, was marked mainly by the lingering adverse effects of this pandemic and the outbreak of an armed conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

These two major events continue to have a far-reaching impact on the stability of our economies, particularly those of developing countries, and tend to exacerbate global trade dysfunctions.

I would like to reiterate here that Cameroon remains committed to the peaceful resolution of conflicts through dialogue and negotiation.

Distinguished Members of the Diplomatic Corps,

Over the past year, the world continued to face other equally  disquieting challenges, notably terrorism and violent extremism, migration issues and climate change, to name but a few.

Hence, as part of the quest for solutions to some of these challenges confronting African countries, I appealed at the recently held United States-Africa Leaders Summit, for the establishment of more coherent financing mechanisms tailored to the needs of the African continent.

I still believe that the African continent will be equipped to finance its development if a veritable African capital market is set up.

I am also pleased that the recent United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP27, that took place in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, underscored the importance of providing substantial funding support to the adaptation efforts of developing countries.

It now behoves developed countries to honour their commitments to establish a USD 100 billion fund for vulnerable countries to make up for the losses and damage they endure as a result of climate change.

The persistent inequalities in global trade should be of concern to the international community. The successive crises that States are facing have underscored the interdependence of economies and the need for solidarity among nations.

The operationalization of the Continental Free Trade Area is a major stride towards strengthening inter-African trade. In the long term, it could help grow Africa’s share of global trade by substantially swelling its volume of trade with foreign partners.

Cameroon is proud to feature among the seven pioneer countries on the continent that are experimenting the export of specific products under mechanisms provided for in the Agreement establishing the Continental Free Trade Area.

Distinguished Members of the Diplomatic Corps,

As I mentioned earlier on, there are multiple lingering security crises worldwide. Unfortunately, Africa remains the theatre of many armed conflicts.

Such conflicts, regardless of form or justification, truly impede development and affect innocent people.

Of course, it is incumbent upon every State to take the necessary and useful measures to maintain peace within its borders or with its neighbours.

However, I wish to appeal to the international community to pay greater attention to the crises and conflicts occurring on the African continent.

The Dean of the Diplomatic Corps,

Distinguished Members of the Diplomatic Corps,

At this juncture, I would like to request   you to convey to the High Authorities you represent, my best wishes for a prosperous New Year.

I also extend to you and your respective families, my sincere wishes for good health and success in 2023.

Long live international cooperation!

Long live international solidarity!

Thank you for your attention.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *