Carnet diplomatique: Africans Taking Lead In Resolving Their Problems

His Excellency Merzak Bedjaoui, Ambassador of the Democratic and Popular Republic of Algeria to Cameroon, gave a lecture on his country’s foreign policy at the International Relations Institute of Cameroon, IRIC, in Yaounde on January 20, 2017. The event was attended amongst others by the Tunisian and Russian Ambassadors, and the Secretary General in the Ministry of Higher Education.

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The Ambassador said his country’s foreign policy was a product of the revolution that led to its independence from France in 1962. Because of the liberation war, Algeria has always defended the fundamental principles of International Law such as non-interference in the affairs of other States and the right of all people to self-determination and development. Concerning relations with Cameroon, an agreement on professional training has already been signed and more are being prepared in the areas of trade, archives and cultural exchange, drug production, judicial cooperation and transport.

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Other potential deals include sharing Algeria’s experience in running satellites in orbit, setting up a Joint Mixed Commission and opening up direct air links between Algiers and Yaounde to boost trade. Similarly, 34 scholarships were awarded to Cameroonians this year. Algeria prefers that Africans should resolve their problems, with others only playing a supporting role. A non-aligned State, the country supported liberation movements in Africa. Algeria opposed the Western-led war against the late Col. Muammar Ghadaffi of Libya and the military intervention in northern Mali, Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.

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It believes that foreign-imposed democracy is a big security threat. The country last year organised the pioneer Algeria-Africa Economic, Investment Forum that was attended by over 2,500 participants – including 30 business people from Cameroon. Algeria and Nigeria are working on a gas pipeline and optical fibre project to link both countries. Contrary to insinuations, Algeria offers good treatment to African immigrants, but because of terrorist concerns, the country has to strengthen control of its borders, the Ambassador pointed out.

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