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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
06YAOUNDE1431
2006-09-15 07:48:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Yaounde
Cable title:  

CAMEROON MILITARY READY TO ENGAGE IN PEACEKEEPING

Tags:   MARR  PGOV  CM 
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VZCZCXYZ0650
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHYD #1431/01 2580748
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 150748Z SEP 06
FM AMEMBASSY YAOUNDE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6689
INFO RUEHUJA/AMEMBASSY ABUJA PRIORITY 1142
RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA PRIORITY 0068
RUEHKH/AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM PRIORITY 0038
RUEHKI/AMEMBASSY KINSHASA PRIORITY 0765
RUEHLC/AMEMBASSY LIBREVILLE PRIORITY 1288
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 1334
RUEHNJ/AMEMBASSY NDJAMENA PRIORITY 1246
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 1559
RUEHOS/AMCONSUL LAGOS PRIORITY 0342
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 0309
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY
						C O N F I D E N T I A L YAOUNDE 001431 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF/C, AF/RSA, IO/UNP, PM
LONDON AND PARIS FOR AFRICA ACTION OFFICERS
EUCOM FOR J5-A AFRICA DIVISION AND POLAD YATES

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/13/2016
TAGS: MARR PGOV CM
SUBJECT: CAMEROON MILITARY READY TO ENGAGE IN PEACEKEEPING

REF: YAOUNDE 1179

Classified By: Defense Attache Major Matt Sousa, for reasons 1.4 (b) an
d (d).

--------
Summary
-------

C O N F I D E N T I A L YAOUNDE 001431

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF/C, AF/RSA, IO/UNP, PM
LONDON AND PARIS FOR AFRICA ACTION OFFICERS
EUCOM FOR J5-A AFRICA DIVISION AND POLAD YATES

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/13/2016
TAGS: MARR PGOV CM
SUBJECT: CAMEROON MILITARY READY TO ENGAGE IN PEACEKEEPING

REF: YAOUNDE 1179

Classified By: Defense Attache Major Matt Sousa, for reasons 1.4 (b) an
d (d).

--------------
Summary
--------------


1. (C) In a September 8 meeting with DATT, General
Ren-Claude MEKA, Chief of Staff of Cameroon's Armed Forces,
said Cameroon was prepared to eventually contribute up to a
batallion for international peacekeeping operations.
Cameroon has the political and military will to participate
in PKO, but its military services need new equipment,
especially lightly armored vehicles. General MEKA expressed
Cameroon's strong preference for U.S. military equipment and
stressed Cameroon's readiness to make significant financial
investments in new equipment for the armed forces. This is
the first strong indication of a post-Bakassi agreement
"peace dividend' in response to our long-standing invitations
to Cameroon to become more involved in PKO. End Summary.

--------------
Cameroon willing and able
to contribute to PKO
--------------


2. (C) Embassy Yaounde Defense Attach was invited to meet
with the Chief of Staff of Cameroon's Armed Forces, General
Ren-Claude MEKA, on September 8, 2006. General MEKA made it
clear that Cameroon was ready and willing to move forward
with preparations to eventually contribute a battalion-sized
element towards international peacekeeping operations.
(Note: This echoes what PM Inoni told EUCOM Deputy Commander
General Ward July 20, reftel. End Note) General MEKA did
not specify which operation or governing agency (UN or AU)
Cameroon preferred, but was very firm about the existence of
the requisite political and military will.


3. (C) General MEKA admitted that the current state of
materiel readiness of Cameroon's Armed Forces was
insufficient to support immediate deployment. (DATT Comment:
There are only a few units of Cameroon's armed forces that
are currently trained and equipped to a reasonable state of

operational readiness, and these are presently involved with
presidential security (Presidential Guard), counter-banditry
and border security missions (3rd BIR/Batallion
d'Intervention Rapide), and security for the Bakassi
transition (BSA, the Special Amphibious Batallion). DATT
believes that Cameroon could easily cobble together a
full-strength infantry battalion, but that it would need
significant training and equipping (especially vehicles)
before it could be appropriately deployed. End DATT Comment)

--------------
...and wants to purchase U.S. equipment
--------------


4. (C) General MEKA said Cameroon was seeking to make
significant financial investments in new equipment for the
Armed Forces, and that Cameroon strongly preferred to obtain
American military equipment. General MEKA affirmed that
Cameroon would like to see an increase in Foreign Military
Financing (FMF) as a sign of real U.S. support for Cameroon's
future role as a regional peacekeeping contributor. He also
explicitly stated, however, that Cameroon wanted to purchase
new U.S. equipment with its national funds, and intended to
do that through a major U.S. bank.


5. (C) Touching on materiel acquisition priorities for the
services, General MEKA highlighted lightly armored vehicles
as the most glaring need for potential peacekeeping
operations. Other priorities include shallow draft patrol
boats (Navy), new helicopters (Air Force), and Army
engineering assets.


6. (C) As for what Cameroon might contribute to peacekeeping
operations, General MEKA specifically pointed to the BBR (a
lightly armored, wheeled reconnaissance battalion, based in
Douala) as a potential unit for refurbishment and
peacekeeping training. (DATT comment: The BBR is considered
to be a relatively elite unit, but its Commando 150 armored
vehicles are old, in very poor condition, and definitely not
effectively deployable. End DATT Comment)


7. (C) When asked about the possibility of receiving African
Contingency Operations and Training Assistance (ACOTA) and/or
Global Peace Operations Initiative (GPOI) training, General
MEKA responded very enthusiastically, saying that would be
ideal. He explained that he had called this meeting with the
U.S. DATT in order to begin the process of serious
discussions about how to best train and properly equip
Cameroon's Armed Forces for their future role as peacekeepers.


8. (C) Comment: General MEKA's initiative in expressing
Cameroon's new willingness to engage in PKO follows years of
Cameroonian statements to us at the highest levels to the
effect that "we will do so once we have settled the Bakassi
issue with Nigeria." With the June 12 Greentree Agreement
and the August 14 widrawal of Nigerian troops from Bakassi
behind them, this position is therefore both welcome and
expected. Embassy will discuss this issue soon with senior
civilian leadership to determine the degree of coordination,
momentum, and support for MEKA's views among others who count
here. End Comment.
MARQUARDT