While speaking before the National Assembly’s Defense Committee, last November 24, Defense Minister (Mindef) highlighted the reasons behind the military cooperation agreement Cameroon signed with the Russian Federation despite some partners’ disapproval.
According to the Mindef, Russia is a key player in international security. "Thanks to its extensive experience in the fight against international terrorism, the strategic nature of its military production and its weight on the global geopolitical scene, the Russian Federation is a partner capable of providing Cameroon with significant multi-faceted support," said the minister, according to the report by the defense commission.
According to the government official, through this agreement, Cameroon could greatly promote the sharing of experience in the fight against international terrorism, and even increase opportunities for its army in terms of initial and ongoing training and technology transfer. This would "in turn strengthen our freedom of action."
The Mindef explains that the agreement is a strategic instrument that will strengthen Cameroon's influence and reach on the international defense scene. "Its ratification would thus offer our country and our defense forces a major geopolitical lever in the current international context marked by the resurgence of conflict between the two blocs."
Cameroon and Russia signed the military cooperation agreement on April 12, 2023. The agreement was incomprehensible for Cameroon’s traditional Western partners since it came just three months after Russia launched a military offensive on Ukraine.
For Mindef, the signing of the agreement was first and foremost a response to the need to finalize negotiations that had been underway between the two countries since 2017. In addition, he says, the agreement contains no secret chapters and is in line with other military agreements Cameroon has signed with a number of countries. With Russia, Cameroon was simply pursuing its policy of diversifying its strategic partners.