In a New Year's address to foreign diplomats, Cameroonian President Paul Biya positioned himself as a staunch advocate for the United Nations (UN) in resolving global conflicts, pushing back against rising anti-UN sentiment on the continent.
Speaking at Palais de l'Unité on January 5, he urged the world body to prioritize dialogue between warring parties in a world "seeming to indulge in paths leading to perdition."
"We continue to believe in the UN. We continue to believe in its founding values and the dreams of its founders," he declared. "We continue to believe that our common Organization is the best able to lead the human race to overcome passions, egoisms, and antagonisms, to refocus on what is essential: its survival."
Biya's unwavering support for the UN stands in stark contrast to a growing wave of anti-UN discourse championed by some African activists, including Cameroonian commentator Nathalie Yamb. In February 2023, Yamb sparked a viral debate with claims that the "UN system is used to foster insecurity and destabilization on the African continent."
Meanwhile, Cameroon’s experience with the UN offers a distinct perspective. The president highlighted the organization's pivotal role in mediating the peaceful resolution of Cameroon's territorial dispute with Nigeria over the Bakassi peninsula.
Furthermore, Cameroon is actively seeking the presidency of the 79th UN General Assembly, nominating former Prime Minister Philemon Yang as its candidate. This proactive stance underscores Biya's strong belief in the UN's potential to drive global peace and stability.
Michel Ange Nga