The U.S. and France on Tuesday committed to supporting a peaceful resolution to the conflict in Cameroon, a State Department Spokesperson said in a statement on Tuesday following a meeting on the margins of the G7 Ministerial in London, UK, between Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken and French Foreign Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean Yves-le Drian.
Armed conflict continues in the Northwest and Southwest Anglophone regions of Cameroon that began largely after lawyers’ protests and a teachers’ strike in 2016, according to a State Department human rights country report.
The conflict has displaced nearly 700,000 people in the regions, estimates the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR).
In September, opposition leaders called for nation-wide protests “to demand a resolution to the crisis” in the Anglophone regions and “for electoral reform.” The Cameroonian government responded by arresting a reported hundreds of protesters, according to the State Department report.
Armed extremist groups such as Boko Haram and ISIS-West Africa also continue to threaten Cameroonian security.
The Secretary and Foreign Minister’s meeting comes as France expressed strong support for Chadian security following the death of President Déby. The U.S. is also committed to supporting security in the Sahel.
According to the statement of the meeting, Blinken and Le Drian “discussed long-term security and the need for a democratic transition in Chad,” among shared concerns in Ukraine and Lebanon.