President Deby’s two-day stay in Yaounde over the weekend best illustrates the fact that relations can sometimes take a real brotherly posture.
There had been much speculation about the real object of the visit of the President of Chad over the weekend. Yaounde tabloids conjectured on just any subject ranging from presenting Chad’s candidate for the position of African Union chairperson, the Eséka train accident and, simply the need to oil relations as Chad regularly does. But President Deby, barely hours after arriving in Yaounde, let the cat out of the bag. “It is true I had sent a message of condolence to President Biya over the Eséka train accident, but I didn’t consider that enough; that is why I decided to come over personally to present these condolences to the people of Cameroon”, he revealed in a toast at a State Dinner offered by President Biya and the First Lady at State House last Friday evening.
The Chadian leader had arrived at the Yaounde Nsimalen International Airport, barely two hours before the State House audience, accompanied by a select ministerial delegation comprising the Foreign Minister and candidate for the African Union chairperson position Moussa Mahamat Faki and the Minister of Defence Bicharra Issa Djaballah. The duration of the audience – two hours – spoke volumes of the intensity of issues brought forward for discussion and which, by all accounts, could not have been limited to the Eseka train accident alone. Cameroon and Chad have more than one urgent dossier in which the points of view of the two countries count.
There is the ongoing struggle to defeat the notorious Boko Haram sect within the framework of the international joint task force. One would imagine that the two leaders availed themselves of the opportunity to debrief each other of recent developments in the effort to suppress the sect. The two speeches made at the State Dinner also point to the necessity of animating the multi-faceted relations between Chad and Cameroon. While President Deby insisted on the fact that the nature of relations requires regular consultations, his Cameroonian counterpart, President Biya noted that the visit will “strengthen our determination to further develop our relations in all areas.”
The dinner was attended on the Cameroonian side by the Senate President Marcel Niat Njifenji, National Assembly Speaker Cavaye Yeguié Djibril, Prime Minister and Head of Government Philemon Yang, the Secretary General of the CPDM Central Committee Jean Nkuete as well as several members of government including Bello Bouba Maigari (Tourism and Leisure), Ferdinand Ngoh Ngoh (Minister-SGPR), Martin Belinga Eboutou (DCC), Louis Paul Motaze (Economy and Regional Development), Issa Tchiroma Bakari (Communication)and Adoum Gargoum (Minister-Delegate for External Relations in charge of the Islamic World).
The Apostolic Nuncio to Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea Mgr Piero Pioppo represented the diplomatic corps. On the Chadian side were the two Ministers: Foreign Affairs (Moussa Mahamat Faki) and Defence (Bicharra Djaballah) as well as the Chief of the President’s Special Command Post Mahamat Orozi and the Deputy Director of Cabinet Amira Deby Itno.
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