Yaounde loves lavish money: THE DION NGUTE/GHOGOMU PAUL MISSION REPORT

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THE DION NGUTE/GHOGOMU PAUL MISSION REPORT

High Level Mission to the USA
(11 – 20 July 2018)

Delegation Members:
H.E Dr DION NGUTE Joseph, Minister in charge of Missions at the Presidency,
H.E GHOGOMU Paul MINGO, Director of the Prime Minister’s Cabinet,
H.E MBAYU Felix, Minister Delegate to MINREX, in charge of the Commonwealth,
Mr. CHINMOUN Oumarou, Director of American and Caribbean Affairs at the MINREX, and
Mme EYEMA ELINGE Susan epse EWUSI, Research Officer at the Presidency.

Objectives of Mission
Meet the US Government and Legislators and give Cameroon’s version of the situation in the country:
Meet Permanent Representatives of member countries of the UN Security Council to brief them on the exact situation on the field:
Arrange for some diasporans to work with the Government, form pressure groups in Washington and New York.

Documents made available
Talking Points on the Special Mission to the USA.
Briefing Notes on the situation in the North West and South West Regions of Cameroon.
Government’s Response to the 2017 State Department’s Report on the Situation of Human Rights in Cameroon.
Comments on the written statement by Felix Agbor Nkongho to the US House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs, by Prof. Victor Julius Ngoh.
Government emergency humanitarian assistance plan in the North West and South West Regions 2018 – 2019.
2016 Report on the situation of Human Rights in Cameroon by the Ministry of Justice.
Compilation of the actions carried out by Government since the onset of the crisis in the North West and South West Regions.
Compendium of US Government Reports, by SQUIRE PATTON BOGGS Firm.
Government’s Response to the Amnesty International report titled “Cameroon: credible evidence that army personnel responsible for shocking extrajudicial executions caught on video”.

NEW YORK
Meetings with:
H.E Antonio Gutteres, Secretary General of the UNO

Permanent members of the Security Council:
-Mme Karen PERCE, Permanent Representative of Sweden,
-Mr. Jonathan COHEN, Deputy Permanent Representative of the United Nations,

Non-permanent members of the Security Council:
-Mr. Olaf SKOOG, Permanent Representative of Sweden,
-Mr. Karel J. G. Van OOSTEROM, Permanent Representative of the Netherlands,
-The members of the 3A (present non-permanent African members of the Security Council): Permanent representatives of Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia and Cote d’Ivoire.

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The Delegation was helped in the organization of audiences by the Cameroon Permanent Representative to the United Nations, H.E TOMMO MONTHE. At each audience, we presented the historical background of the socio-political crisis in the North West and South West Regions of Cameroon. We also briefed our hosts on the current situation in the two Regions, and explained the measures taken by the Government to address the crisis.

We insisted that it was an internal crisis for which the Government had mobilized all necessary security, political, social and humanitarian means for its management. We presented the Government Emergency Humanitarian Plan and stated our Government’s expectations from the UNO and the members of the Security Council.

For the SG/UN:
Cameroon is a very important and strategic Country,
We have a very wise and intelligent leader,
There is a pattern of inevitable problems when there is a linguistic minority,
The strategy of radical groups has always been to provoke, then show the world what the army is doing,
The global media is Anglo-Saxon dominated, so that there is a campaign to show that the English-speaking minority is being maltreated,
We are losing the international propaganda campaign, but he is willing to help. He will contact reasonable people,
Cameroon should however counter the daily press briefs from heavy media with negative write-ups from the UK and USA.

For the Members of the Security Council:
They appreciated the initiative of the Head of State to send this Mission to the UN. The move has helped in a better understanding of the situation on the ground, instead of the one-sided information on the social media,
They are concerned about the current situation especially because of the violence and atrocities on the populations,
The Security Council is concerned with the “disproportionate” use of force by security forces,
To them, inclusive dialogue seems to be the most appropriate solution to the crisis,
Some members recognize the strategic position of Cameroon and her leadership role in the sub region and were obviously worried about the consequences of the crisis in Central Africa and in the Gulf of Guinea.
Particularly, for the members of the 3A (African non-Permanent Members of the Security Council), it was out of the way for any resolution to be tabled at the Security Council on the matter. They had also done consultations to that effect, and seven members of the Security Council are against it: China, Russia, Bolivia, Kazakhstan and the 3A (Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia and Cote d’Ivoire).

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REMARKS AND PERSPECTIVES
Maintain a direct link between our Government and the UN, by constant High-level Missions.
Adopt and adapt an aggressive Communication strategy, especially with the Anglo-Saxon press.
Get our Permanent Mission all documentation to distribute on a permanent basis.

WASHINGTON DC LAP
Meeting at the State Department with:
Ambassador Stephanie S. SULLIVAN, Acting Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of African Affairs, US Department of State. She was accompanied by:
Ambassador Michael G. KOZAK, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labour:
Mrs. MANOUD SAFIA, Special Assistant to the Deputy Secretary of State in charge of Political Affairs:
Mrs. Victoria ORERO, Special Assistant at the Bureau of African Affairs:
Mrs. Melina de la GARZA, desk Officer for Cameroon: and
Mr. Daniel MURPHY, Adviser at the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labour.

Meetings at the American Congress with:
Congressman Steve RUSSEL, Republican, Representative of Oklahoma and House Armed Services Committee Chairperson: and
Congresswoman Karen BASS, RANKING Member, Democrat, Representative of California (Los Angeles Constituency), Chair of House Foreign Affairs, Africa Subcommittee.

Meeting with a Non Governmental Organization:
Mr. Joshua MERSERVEY, Senior Policy Analyst, Africa and the Middle East, The HERITAGE FOUNDATION, accompanied by about ten Staff Members and Chiefs of Cabinet of Congressmen and Senators.

The meetings in Washington were geared towards sensibilizing the American senior administration and members of the civil society on the ongoing socio-political crisis in the North West and South West Regions of Cameroon. We were assisted by Cameroon’s Ambassador to the USA, H.E ETOUNDI Essomba, as well as two staff members of the firm SQUIRE PATTON BOGGS (Robert KAPLA and Stacy SWANSON).
At each audience, we briefed our hosts on:
The evolution of the socio-political situation of the country,
The atrocities committed by the secessionists on the civilian populations, government officials, traditional rulers and security forces,
The violence perpetrated on public edifices and infrastructure as well as on private property

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We noticed that both at the State Department and at the Congress and Senate, the situation in Cameroon is known and followed. Our visit was appreciated, as it gave them our Government’s side of a story they had been told by our detractors. Indeed, the activists, separatists, some media, some NGOs and even some members of the civil society had given very wrong impressions about the ongoing crisis.
Most of those we saw think that the crisis cannot be resolved by military action alone. They suggested that the Government should explore other avenues, and that the U.S will unconditionally help us.

DEBRIEFING AT THE END OF OUR MEETINGS

We reviewed our various encounters in the light of our set goals. We feel that the US government is better informed now. The following actions should be taken:
reinforce our relations with some influential members of the Congress,
promote productive cooperation with the USA,
such information missions should be multiplied,
our partners of Squire Patton Boggs should be more proactive,
the Ambassador should be more present at the US Congress,
we should send to them up to date information.

At the end, and following instructions from the SG/PRC, we invited Dr Ekema retired from the Pennsylvania State University, to start working on creating a coalition of Cameroonians of the Diaspora who are ready to engage in positive and productive relationships with the American authorities, especially on pertinent issues concerning Cameroon.

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