Negotiated settlement: To be or not to be?

On 20 January, the Canadian government announced the beginning of a peace process towards a negotiated settlement. Claiming that the Canadian government had been mandated by all stakeholders (including the Cameroon government and the Pro-Independence faction) to facilitate the process, Melanie Joly, Minister of Foreign Affairs, issued the following statement on the announcement of a peace process aimed at resolving the ongoing crisis in the North-West and South-West regions of Cameroon:

“Civilians are bearing the brunt of the ongoing crisis in Cameroon, with more than 6,000 people have lost their lives since 2017. In addition, nearly 800,000 people have been displaced as a result of this crisis, and 600,000 children do not have full access to education.

“Canada welcomes the agreement by the parties to enter a process to reach a comprehensive, peaceful and political resolution of the conflict. The parties have also agreed to form technical committees to begin work on confidence-building measures.

“The agreement to enter a formal process is a critical first step toward peace and a safer, more inclusive and prosperous future for civilians affected by the conflict.

“We commend all parties for engaging in substantive dialogue. We encourage all stakeholders to support and work with the parties to advance and contribute to an inclusive process to reach a lasting and sustainable political settlement. “Canada has accepted the mandate to facilitate this process, as part of our commitment to promote peace and security and advance support for democracy and human rights. Our role also reflects Canada’s engagement to work with our African partners to build a better future for everyone.

“The parties to this agreement are the Republic of Cameroon, the Ambazonia Governing Council and the Ambazonia Defence Force, the African People’s Liberation Movement and the Southern Cameroons Defence Force, the Interim Government, and the Ambazonia Coalition Team. The parties further express the hope that other groups will join the process.’’

Religious leaders expressed immediate support for the process, issuing the following statement:



The same day that the religious leaders’ statement was issued (22 January), the matter was specifically mentioned by the Holy Father. In his Sunday Angelus address, after praying the Angelus, Pope Francis asked people to pray for peace in Myanmar, Peru, Cameroon, and Ukraine. The Pope expressed hope that progress is being made toward a resolution of the conflict in English-speaking regions of Cameroon. “I encourage all the signatory parties to the agreement to persevere on the path of dialogue and mutual understanding because the future can be planned only in encounter,” the Pope said. Pope Francis: To stay with Jesus requires the courage to leave our sins | Catholic News Agency .

The following day (23 January2023) the Cameroon government issued a statement (see below) denying any support for or involvement in the peace process announced by Canada.


The rejection of the initiative came as no surprise to many Anglophone Cameroonians. A source in Bamenda told DHPI: “I know that nothing will come of it because it’s the initiative of the Canadian government and not that of Cameroon’s President. Actually the proposed peace talks is a non-event back here. No one is talking about it nor are people excited about it. The government of Cameroon insists on solving it by itself as an internal affair.”

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