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Geneva Talks: Biya’s third home offers his beleaguered government exit strategy

BFM, cathedral Saint-Pierre green tower and Rhone river by night with full moon, Geneva, Switzerland, HDR

The news had been circulating on social media and some online news portal for days now. Ambazonian activists have talked about it and government maintains suspicious silence as the news circulates concerning a supposed dialogue between Yaoundé and separatist’s leaders in the Swiss capital of Geneva
News of the back door discussion to find long-lasting solutions to the Anglophone crisis had sparked debate among Cameroonians and fierce fighting between different factions of the separatist’s movement as is always the case, leaving many to wonder the end game of the crisis amidst the turmoil
Renowned former chief justice Ayah Paul Abine had describe the rumored talk on his official Facebook page as a “second Fool”, cautioning those heading the secret negotiations to be careful not to engage them in the Northwest and southwest regions of another Foumban conference 2 (an apparent reference to the historic conference which gave birth to the unity of the two Cameroons and many believe the West Cameroonian leaders were deceived)
But news by the Swiss government about its readiness to mediate talks between the warring parties has confirmed such online rumors even as the government remained seal lips, refusing to deny or accept the idea that it’s participating in such talks abroad.
“Switzerland was tasked by a majority of the parties with facilitating an inclusive negotiation process,” the Swiss foreign affairs department (FDFA) said in a statement following two days of talks with a number of opposition groups.
“The aim of the meeting was to prepare future peace negotiations.” According to Reuters
But the confirmation from the world peace capital might present a massive win for the separatists who had insisted that any such talks to end the crisis must take place in a neutral territory
Switzerland is highly considered as the resting place of the President of the Republic as his frequent visits to the European nation has left many to believe it’s his third home, sparking debates back home over his involvement in the state of affairs of the country
The President and family regularly shuttle between Yaoundé and Geneva for brief and private stays, with his critics saying the President is governing the country from Switzerland.
Ivo Tapang, spokesman for 13 armed groups called the Contender Forces of Ambazonia, told Reuters they would not speak to the government unless cessation of hostilities was observed. “When the time is ripe for talks, we will invite Cameroon and not the other way round,” he said.

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Tebo Lucas

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